I slipped into the back of church one Sunday morning. It hadn’t been a good day. It hand’t been such a good week. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be there. Perhaps I should have stayed home. A little man came and sat by me. He gave me a huge grin. A thin woman sat at my other side. She seemed to want me to stroke her hand. Later, she stroked mine. During the music, a woman who uses a wheelchair whooped with infectious delight! Later, a large man who had difficulty speaking seemed to be asking for prayers for his family. A charming woman with a smile that ripped from ear to ear took the offertory. After the service a young man told me I looked nice and gave me a squeeze. A smart looking man asked me if I would join the Minute Man March. Another woman who uses a wheelchair gave me an enormous hug. with apologies to the pastor, I don’t remember what the service was about that morning; I do remember the warmth of the welcome I received!

All these people are members of West Concord Union Church’s Sunday Fellowship ministry and receive services from Minute Man Arc. Sunday Fellowship has been offering an intentional welcome to folks with developmental disabilities for over 30 years. Some residents of nearby group homes come with their wonderful aides and some come independently to morning worship and the special Sunday Fellowship gathering West Concord offers late Sunday afternoons on a bi-weekly basis fall through spring.

When this ministry was proposed, some members of the congregation had serious reservations; now there is wide consensus that the church is a richer and more joyful place because of our connection with our friends from Minute Man Arc. I’ve been deeply involved with Sunday Fellowship for over ten years and value the friendships I’ve made there. These friendships led me to learn more about Minute Man Arc and also to join its chorus. My family has suffered me singing in the shower for many years and no other music group would have me, but at Minute Man Arc we not only sign but dance too.

Minute Man Arc sees potential and has shared it with me.

That’s why I donate.

Jean Goulden
Concord, MA