Before the memorial service for my close friend, I helped show people where to set the tables and arranged the flowers.  Then I donned my robe and conducted the service.  After the worship,  I was back into my suit.  Then I made sure that the food was ready and helped serve the refreshments.  After everyone moved through the food line, I mingled with the guests to insure that each one had been served and was satisfied.  Because there were many people with disabilities there, it was especially important to assure that their needs had been met.

Because it was a memorial service, the funeral director was not there.  Therefore, it was also important for me to do the things they would normally do, such as, help the family with a few, fine points of where to stand so that the people move from one place to another and finding an appropriate place for them to sit during the service.  No, you can’t help serve the food.  You need to speak to your friends and let them share with you. 

Of course, I wasn’t the only person working.  There were at least 16 other people and The Special Gathering choir who worked many hours to make this worship/fellowship service a meaningful and loving event. 

Yet, as I was switching from one position to another, I was thinking that if I were a man/pastor, I would be moving the piano, the chairs and tables.  Before the service, if we had a building and the lawn crew had not shown up, I would be hurriedly cutting the lawn.  My male counterparts often repair a leaking roof and hang light fixtures.  A good friend of mine became the sub-contractor for upgrades of his run-down building.  He obtained grants and totally renovated the campus of his church. 

None of these important duties are in the job description but they are necessary functions that help make a ministry function properly.  We can either resent them or accept them with joy.  We often tell our choir that when they sing at churches or community events they are representing the Lord first but they are also representing the mentally challenged community, themselves and Special Gathering.  Perhaps this goes double for those of us who have the privilege to be Christ’s representative within the mentally challenged community.

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