Unique Ministry For the Handicapped

Unique Ministry For the Handicapped
By Carol Downs-Pullen

According to Ohio’s Herald-Star news service, the Toronto, Ohio Church of the Nazarene recently began a unique ministry through which the church hosts an evening of social activities where church members and the mentally retarded and developmentally disabled can fellowship together.

Pastor Dennis Kelly told the Herald-Star he was inspired to create this ministry, called Mephibosheth Ministries, “to do something no one else in our community is doing, while at the same time, meet needs.”

“Our mission statement is ‘To Bring Kindness to the Handicapped,” Kelly stated. “That is behind all that we do.”

Kelly, who is also a bus driver for Ohio’s Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MRDD) agency, said the ministry was inspired from a story in the Bible where Jonathan, son of Saul, has a son named Mephibosheth who was lame in both feet.

There are approximately 13 church members involved in Mephibosheth Ministries. The first official event was a December Christmas party at the church.

“Fourteen handicapped were in attendance,” said Kelly. “We had a wonderful evening together. We ate, played games, made crafts, told stories, sang karaoke, and just had a great time of fellowship.”

The group met again in January, where 24 handicapped individuals attended. The group met again in February and an Easter party was held in March.

“We have many long-term plans,” Kelly continued. “Some of them will include a Bible study class and offering counseling for families of the handicapped. We just are not sure exactly how big it will become.”

“It really is a great program for the folks who attend our program. It gets them involved in the community,” said Mike Mehalik, adult services director for the MRDD agency.

“It is such a rewarding feeling to be involved in this type of ministry,” said Kelly. “Actually, we are receiving more in return for doing this than what we are giving. We hope to be a blessing, but in turn, we are being blessed.”

This article “Unique Ministry For The Handicapped” by Carol Downs-Pullen is excerpted from www.herald-starnews.com, May 3, 2005.