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Service geared toward special needs

At First United Methodist Church in Hollidaysburg, special needs individuals weren’t just hearing a story about the Good Shepherd looking for lost sheep, they were out in the sanctuary searching for lost sheep.

Instead of just standing and singing songs, worshippers and family members were doing motions and actively participating in worship in their own unique way.

On the third Thursday of each month, the congregation is hosting a worship gathering for those with special needs. Persons of all ages, levels of functioning and range of special needs are invited to come and experience God at an ‘outside the box’ sort of worship encounter.

Participants enjoy singing, Bible stories and various participatory activities.

After the worship gathering, participants head into the church social hall to participate in a structured activity and shared meal.

A number of the congregation’s members have worked in special education or had family members with special needs. The service is an opportunity to share the love of Jesus in a unique and powerful way.

The first service took place in mid-November. The next service will be held at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19.

To celebrate the Christmas Season, The Arc Angels Chorus from the Blair County Chapter of The Arc will be sharing Christmas carols. Following some lively singing, participants will work on an ornament craft before sitting down to a turkey dinner and other foods prepared for special diets.

Future winter worship dates will be on Jan. 16, Feb. 20 and March 19. If Hollidaysburg Area School District cancels school for one of those days, the worship encounter will not take place that evening.

The church is at 801 Allegheny St., Hollidaysburg. For more information, call the church office at 695-4411.

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