25 JUNE 2019

A Place to Belong for People with Intellectual Disabilities

By Melisa Ng

Susan is 59 and a member at Castle Hill Jesus Club. She has an incredible sense of humour - a gift for making people laugh and, she also has down syndrome.

Susan had been coming to Castle Hill’s St Paul’s Anglican Church with her parents, Ron and Judy for years. While she loved the social interactions before and after the service, she would often fall asleep during the service as the sermon was too difficult for her.

Thankfully in 2014, St Paul’s Anglican announced their intention to start a Jesus Club. Julie, our coordinator at Castle Hill recounted vividly how excited Susan was when she first heard the news, ‘She kept telling people,

“There is something for me! There is something for me!”

Even in the inclusive environment of church, Susan recognised that she had a disability and didn’t fit in. But in this promise of a Jesus Club - a place for people with and without disabilities, she could see where she would belong!

Susan has now been attending Jesus Club for 5 years and she loves coming to be amongst her peer groups and friends. She is attentive during the bible teaching and is a keen prayer, firmly believing that God will answer her prayers.

Robyn, Susan’s buddy group leader, thinks Jesus Club has also enabled Susan to gain a sense of herself as an important individual since she attends without her family and is given a chance to be her own person.

“Susan gains reassurance about things in her life that she is 
dealing with, as she shares these things with leaders.”

Susan’s parents are also full of praises for Jesus Club and are constantly writing letters to the leaders, encouraging them saying, “It’s so lovely, what you’re doing for our young ones!” Their appreciation has even turned them into keen advocates in their 80s, and they now drive another girl to and from Jesus Club every fortnight.

Susan’s health has deteriorated in the past 5 years and she now needs a walker to get around. But though her mobility has waned, her cheekiness does not seem to have abated with age. Just the other night during supper, Julie overheard Susan saying with a cheeky grin, to a young member sitting next to her, “You are a very handsome person!”

Because of Jesus Club, Susan now has a keen sense of her own identity and also of her saviour Jesus Christ, who she knows has died for her so she can go to heaven in the future.

Jesus Club offers adults with disabilities the opportunity to be part of a loving church family where they feel welcomed and connected. You can now share this with more people with disabilities by donating to the work of Jesus Club. Give today.

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This is the Gospel Demonstrated - How Jesus Club is witnessing to families of people with disabilities

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