Special needs worship
Services offered for developmentally disabled
By Erik Buchinger
St. Paul Lutheran in Clintonville and Grace Lutheran in Sugar Bush teamed up and will host a unique worship service each month starting on May 4.
On the first Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m., there will be service called “Worship at the Cross” for people with developmental disabilities, including people with forms of dementia.
“Our church party, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, has made a point of making sure everyone has a chance to hear the gospel regardless of the who they are,” said Rev. Titus Buelow, pastor at St. Paul Lutheran.
This is a Jesus Cares Program, and Buelow said the sermon will be easy to understand with symbols and pictures to make it simple to follow along and so the congregation feels comfortable.
“It will be much more simplistic using symbols for each part of the service,” Buelow said. “We will have certain actions and instruments so they can be involved in the service to keep their attention the entire time.”
The sermons will be done by Buelow or Grace Lutheran Pastor Preston Heuer. Each service will be held St. Paul Lutheran Church at 31 North Park St. in Clintonville.
Buelow said several volunteers from both churches have made this possible.
“We both had an interest, and each of the congregations wanted to make sure we had enough volunteers to help and that the two of us combined could share workload,” Buelow said.
Buelow said the sermon fits a big need, as several people have families in the congregation with disabilities, including Heuer.
“[Heuer] has a sibling with disability, so he has that experience whereas I don’t as much,” Buelow said. “We have members in our congregation who have children or friends with developmental disabilities, so they have a strong interest making sure they’re included.”
There will also be a kickoff event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27 with Karaoke Night at St. Paul Lutheran.
“We will be singing karaoke and getting to know all the individuals and families,” Buelow said. “We’d like to help them get to know what we went to, and it’s a chance for them to have some fun.”
Buelow said he hopes to add bible studies in addition to other events in the future.