Mosaic is an agency that owns and manages group and host homes, has a day program and ministers to people with intellectual disabilities throughout the United States and closer to home along the Front Range of Colorado. Friendship Fellowship is part of a network of churches in cooperation with Word and Spirit and Ancient Paths House Church Network. Since 2010 Friendship Fellowship has planted three fellowships in Denver and Colorado Springs and this season the roots will go deeper with a new series that will be designed for special needs friends to explore full participation and expression in faith. Roundup Fellowship is also an agency based in Denver that partners with Friendship Fellowship and Washington Park Chapel.
From baptism, communion, and all those cornerstone expressions of faith Friendship is preparing adults and teens to experience this with their families, the group and host home leaders and others who care about their lives emotionally, spiritually and educationally. “The heart and mind are closely connected in our belief system,” a pastor explains. “We want to give our friends the opportunity and so we are inviting them to the table. As we call this Faith x-press, it is not a timing issue but instead an expression issue. We have invited them to study and we have invited them to worship, should we not then go the extra mile and give them membership in the body?”
Family and friends
The idea is to meet people with disabilities where they are and that for special needs families this is of utmost importance. “We don’t attend church because we are a special needs family and then when our kids became adults there still is little for them.” That’s why AP and W and S is working out the details to be available at day programs and then if we can begin to train pastors who specialize in reaching and planting churches for people with special needs, their families and caregivers they could start reaching an under served segment of our communities. “The estimation of adults who are considered disabled and need assistance is a staggering number. Think of the church support that can be offered that would minister to not only the person with the disability, but also to the parents, caregivers and siblings, aunts and uncles and their families,” explained the special needs pastor. One of the areas that the staff and church planters want to focus in on is training.
Friendship Fellowship has a proposal in to a major online university for training for special needs and segment pastors. “If we can train and ordain 20 pastors a year and send them to communities to start and plant Friendship Fellowship it would make a large ripple in reaching and repeating the model.” A University spokesperson and advocate is reviewing the idea of a combination internship with online theological teaching in all levels of higher education. “think of it, about a dozen pastors dedicated to reaching special needs families and actually dedicating their lives to pastor through agencies, families and caring for their needs on the undergraduate, masters and doctorate level.” With that scenario we are beginning to see that between 30 and 40 communities can be reached a year. “Denver and Colorado Springs, Mosaic and Roundup can be the model churches,” says the special needs pastor. Mosaic’s mission statement is
“In partnership with people who have disabilities. Mosaic provides , supports and advocates that all may realize God’s gift of wholeness of life.”
if you would like to find out more and get involved with Friendship Fellowship – please e-mail Friendshipfellowship@juno.com