We Are Able Workcamp

we-are-able-photo

The We Are Able workcamp is a four day service-learning experience for intellectually disabled youth and young adults, ages 16-30. Recognizing that everyone has gifts to share, this workcamp gives intellectually disabled youth and young adults an opportunity to serve others. This year’s We Are Able workcamp will be held in Elgin, Illinois, July 10-13, 2017. We will be staying in a dormitory at Judson College and serving in local food banks, pantries, and food relief organizations. There will also be a daily prayer time and fun recreational outings such as bowling, a movie night and/or a concert. Enrollment is limited to ten participants. There will be two leaders (one of whom will be our own Pastor Jeanne) and a nurse present at all times.

Here is a link to photos from last year’s We Are Able workcamp. https://www.yogile.com/weareableworkcamp#21m

Enrollment is online and opens on Thursday, January 5 at 7 p.m. (CST) at http://www.brethren.org/workcamps.

Please contact Pastor Jeanne at parablescommunity@gmail.com or Emily Tyler at etyler@brethren.org with any questions.

Holding Hands Bike Rack

Parables Community is delighted to have sponsored the creation of the beautiful “Holding Hands Bike Rack” designed by Elmhurst College students for the new Playground for Everyone in Butterfield Park. The Playground for Everyone is an amazing new playground that is accessible to children with disabilities so that all children can play together. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to this wonderful playground just ten minutes from our church building! Thank you to all who donated to make this possible. Go visit the park! It’s at 385 E. Van Buren St. in Elmhurst. It will exceed your expectations! A large part of the funding for the playground came from local charitable organizations – a true community effort on behalf of all our children.

Unity Picnic

unity-picnic

On Saturday, September 24 we celebrated our first annual UNITY Picnic Saturday with the three congregations that share our building and the local police departments. Pictured: Pastor Carl Mabins, God’s Congregation Worship Center; Pastor Jeanne Davies, Parables Community; Deputy Cliff Seward, DuPage County Sheriff’s Department; Pastor Christy Waltersdorff, York Center Church of the Brethren. Parables Community was grateful to be a part of this celebration as we all continue to work and pray for peace in our community.

Changing the Way We Do Church

come-as-you-are

It’s no secret that church attendance in the United States is declining. Many articles have been written about the “nones,” people with no church affiliation, and the “dones,” people who used to be very active in their congregations but just got burned out by the way that we do church. What does the church have to offer in this time where institutions are failing, where money is tighter for most families, where people are working harder and feeling more stressed, where many feel isolated and lonely even as social media expands?

We at Parables Community believe that Jesus teaches us a different way of living – a way of living in a community of mutual concern, of creating a meaningful life, of helping to make the world a better place for all people, and of resting in the grace of God. We start by modeling what we would like to see happening in the world.

At Parables, we try to create a worship service and an environment that is comfortable for all people, including those with sensory issues. We open up the social norms for worship. We think it’s more important for everyone feel welcome and accepted than it is for everyone to sit still and be quiet. It’s a no-shushing zone. We appreciate the gifts that each person brings to the table. What might seem like a small gift can actually turn out to be a huge gift to the community and to God. We are richer for including all people. At Parables, we all have the opportunity to serve God and one another.

The truth is, we’re not just creating this community for folks with disabilities. We are creating it for all of us. We need everyone. And everyone needs a place where they are loved and accepted just the way they are. Everyone needs to know that they are valued and can contribute. We make each other’s lives better.

So how about you? Are you looking for a place to belong, serve, and be encouraged? A place where you and your loved ones will be accepted and appreciated for who you are? That is the kind of community we are trying to create. We’d love to meet you.

Halloween and Expectations

trick-or-treat

There the life we expected to have and then there’s the life we actually have. This is true of all families but perhaps especially true of those who have a family member with special needs. That doesn’t mean we aren’t blessed many times over. We are just blessed in a different way than we expected. Changing our expectations around holidays can be difficult. Here’s a post from one mom about letting go of expectations and enjoying the blessing of her life and family at Halloween.

https://themighty.com/2016/10/autism-and-halloween-accepting-that-my-son-wont-wear-a-costume/

Quirky

just-be-quirky

I have to admit, I like people who are quirky. Maybe that’s because I’m a little bit quirky myself. Really, the more you get to know people, you realize that everyone is unique. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, their passions and aversions. I confess I enjoy the company of those who wear their uniqueness flamboyantly – not that they always have a choice. I know that can feel uncomfortable, like being a turtle without a shell. I just want to say that I see you. I think you’re great. Thanks for being you. There’s no one else like you and you are needed. God needs you. We all need you. You’re an important, precious part of this world with unique gifts to bring to it. Here’s a little poem about the beauty of variety by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things—

   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

       For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

   Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;

       And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;

   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

                                     Praise Him.

Whatever is going on today, I hope you receive God’s affirmation and blessing, and know that you are a gift.

Pastor Jeanne

Innovative Ministry Award

Parables Community is honored to have received a Special Mention for our ministry from the 2016 Prize fmccormick-prizeor Innovation, an award sponsored by McCormick Theological Seminary and the Center for Innovative Ministry. “The quality of this year’s entries was exceptional,” offered Director of the Center for Innovative Ministry Dr. Thomas Dickelman. “We received entries from throughout the country reflecting a broad range of ministries.  In most cases, the innovations began with a single idea that ultimately had multiple impacts.  Choosing just a few winners from among all the outstanding entries was a great challenge.”