January 2010

I understand writing your own curriculum.  I did it for years.  I enjoyed the process and it allowed me to emphasize the important parts of discipleship that the Scriptures teach and I wanted my students to grasp.

However, I also love the curriculum put out by LifeWay, which is part of the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.  The curriculum published for persons who are developmentally disabled is called ACCESS.  It is excellent and comes with a teacher’s guide and teaching helps.  You can review the curriculum, teacher’s guide for a minimal cost.  The Teacher’s Packet with teaching helps is expensive but well worth the cost.  However, you may not want to spring for the almost $20 until you view the Pupil’s books and teacher’s books.

I choose Gentleness

Ephesians 4:2

Central Theme:  Gentleness is showing tenderness and love to others.

Introduction—My grandson was told again and again, “Be gentle with your new baby sister.”  We would bearly touch the baby and move our finger bearly touching the skin to show him what gentle meant. We know we are to be gentle to babies but what about each other? Have a member read Ephesians 4:2.

       I.     Moses had been a shepherd for 40 years.  He knew what gentleness was because you must be gentle with sheep. 

          A. Now Moses was overworked leading the people of Israel when his Jethro, father-in-law came to see him. 

          B. Jethro said, “This is not good.  You will not be able to continue to do this. You need to divide the work.”

                   1.  Maybe Jethro was concerned that Moses would lose the gentle care he had learned when tending sheep?

                   2.  God knows that we must be gentle with each other.

          C. My Korean daughter-in-law uses a form of disciple that is gentle.

          D. The corrections and rebukes that I remember the most have been the most gentle.  My friend, Wylene, was able to gently rebuke me. 

      II.     Some people are born gentle, but most people must grow in gentleness.

              A. We grow in genleness by being gentle to other. 

              1.  We need to be gentle in the way we touch each other.

              2.  But the greatest damage is done in the way we talk to each other.

Conclusion—My grandson was taught how to be gentle with his baby sister.  Jethro was concerned that the shepherd, Moses, would lose his gentle touch learned tending sheep.  Each of us is either learning how to touch tenderly or we are striving to maintain a gentle touch.

Disney has offered people a free day at one of their parks if they will give a day volunteering with a non-profit organization.  The Special Gathering in Brevard and Indian River have qualified.  If you are interesting and live in either of these counties, you will need to volunteer for two hours and your time must be scheduled through me.

However, you begin by going to the Disney park sites.  To get there I google, “Disney give and get.”  That will take you to the Disney web page.  At the top of the page is the menu, Get and Give.  Click into that.  You will need to put in zip code near Brevard.  The catagory to best use is Arts and Culture to find Special Gathering.  You may need to go to the second page to find SpG.  When you find SpG, you will then click into the More Information button.  You will need to fill in your name and e-mail address and put a note to SpG.

After that you will get an e-mail to ask about your point of interest, answer it and your time can be scheduled.  When you have been scheduled with Special Gathering, you will need to schedule your time on the website.  You can access that in the e-mail you receive. 

When you work, SpG will verify that you fulfilled your commitment.  My understanding is that after this you will receive an e-mail from Disney that will serve as a certificate entitling you to a ticket.

Small children cannot volunteer with Special Gathering.  Our age limit is 10 years old.  There are other opportunities for children to help, however, with other organizations.

More than 30 people have signed on to vounteer with SpG.  Perhaps you may want to join us for a worship service and time of helping and service.

On Friday, I needed to call the supported living coach of two members who are living in their own home.  I tried to call the number I had in my record but I got a message that this number could not be dailed.  Therefore, I called the members’ home and spoke to the one member who is able to read. 

“Can you give me the phone number of your coach on your refrigerator?”  I asked

“Sure,” she told me.  She read the number as 635 1237.  The number I had in my records was 636 1337. 

“Are you sure that is correct?  Read it to me again,” I said.

Again, she read 635 1237.  “June, could the number be, 636 1337?”

“Well, I said 2/3,” was her response.

“What about the first numbers 635.  Could that be 636?”

“No,” she said.  “It’s 635 1247.” 

That afternoon, I went into their home to look at the number on the refrigerator.  Clearly, in big letters, the number was 636 1337.  After asking permission to use their phone, I called the coach.  This time the message I got said that this number had been disconnected.

Should there be an emergency, June would be unable to read the phone number posted on her refrigerator.  However, even if she could call, the number was recently changed; and the new number had not been recorded on the refrigerator. 

In reality, I’ve found this coach responsive and responsible.  She changed the number in a few days and there was not an emergency.  Yet, the “what if “questions loom largely over the horizon of many people who have been put into independent living arrangements.  Even more disturbing is the resistance of The State regarding opposition to these situations.

More and more parents who have shaped and fought for an inclusive environment for their children are resisting the current independent living arrangements which mentally challenged adults face with independent living.  Still, state officials continue to insist that educating ignorant but well-meaning parents will eventual work.  These parents want concentrated, communal arrangements wherein their children will be able to live in apartments among their friends, without restictive limits in regard to the number of mentally challenged people who can live in one building or an apartment complex. 

What if June and her roommate was living in an apartment complex with several other people who are developmentally delayed?  Wouldn’t she be safer than this current situation?

Too tired to be kind?  Often I feel that way.  When we do get tired–and all of us get there–it is hard to be kind and loving to our members.  Today, I spent the day with six member from South Carolina, their area director, Ferne Brandt, and a volunteer.  We got up early and came home about 6:30pm.  Supper was hurriedly finished and meds were given.

As the day waned, I found myself feeling tired and on the verge of expressing cutting remarks and sarcastic axioms.  I wasn’t responsible for the six members.  Therefore, I could merely withdraw from the conversation and the activity to finish the stack of tasks that waited for me.

As I observed the activity that swirled around me, I was astonished by the humor and patience that the SpG director and her volunteer showed to their members.  Of course, Britty was told seven times that it was time for bed.  Rose became deaf when told that the bathroom was ready for her.  Clare forgot three times why she was in the bedroom and in her bed.  As she wandered back into the family room, each time Mrs. Brandt redirected her back into her room and helped her back into her bed.

Often those of us who work with our members are told that we are people with great patience.  We laugh.  Sometimes we explain that we merely have a very warped sense of humor.  However, tonight I was impressed with the patience AND humor I experienced from the swirls of movement that surrounded me. 

You cannot help but laugh as Britty explains that as soon as she has finished looking at the pictures in the book she just purchased about sea life she will become a Marine Biologist.  When Clare asked for the 500th time when she would be able to buy a new watch, you had to smile at the consistent persistance this elderly woman expresses. 

Paul told Timothy several times in the letters he wrote that  men and women learn and thrive best when things are kept simple.  Perhaps patience can best be exhibited when it is wrapped in the cellophane package of humor.  That is what I experienced this evening. This coupling of godly virtues can help each of us to survive no matter what tasks we face during a hard day.

This is an e-mail I received this morning.  I knew you would be interested no matter what state you reside.

Here is the article: 


Richard Stimson who sent the original article also sent this today. 

 I sent the link to the Wall Street Journal article yesterday.  Then I had a few calls about the Chuck Colson radio program (it is short) on the same subject.  So I am resending the link to the Wall Street article (just to a larger group) and have attached a MP3 file of the Chuck Colson message (it is only about 3 minutes).  I would add to what Chuck Colson said that I am concerned in these budgetary hard times that more creative rule making will be used to take money that was approved for our folks.

  This is the link for the article:  

WSJ.com – Special-Ed Funds Redirected


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This past weekend, we choose deacons in both of our programs.  Our deacons come from our membership.  I inherited the process that is used in each of the programs which I supervise.  For our Vero program, this was the first time that we have selected deacons.  Because this program was filled with new Christian or people who had never been Christians, I’ve waited until our members had established a bit of maturity before asking them to select.  In our Melbourne program, we started with a clean slate because it has been several years since we chose our deacons.

Originally, we used a rotating system, with two deacons up for reelection or two others members voted on each year.  Somehow the weeks got away and then a couple of years went by.  Because it’s been a long time since we’ve selected deacons, we did a good deal of teaching from Timothy about deacons before we selected this year.  There is a slate of five deacons in our smaller program and seven in the larger one. 

Each election, we ask each member, individually, to select one or more (as many slots that are open) people they believe qualify to be deacons.  It was a interesting process.  After the members vote, we ask our elders (teachers and volunteers) to also approve the slate.  After tallying up the vote in both programs, the slate selected by the members was the exact slate that our elders would have voted for and therefore it was approved by them also.

When I first began with Special Gathering, I questioned the process with our executive director.  At that time, it was purely a vote by the membership.  He simply said, “I’ve learned to trust the members’ judgement.  I’ve found they have always been right.”  Over the years, approval of the elders was added.  However, the elders have ALWAYS agreed with the vote of the members. 

The final step will be next week.  The membership and the elders will vote to approve the slate of deacons.  I don’t expect anyone to question the outcome of the vote.

How are your leaders selected?  Is it simply the judgment of the leadership or do your members have a hand in the selection.  What do you call your leadership team?  Are they formally recognized?

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