Huber Heights church reaching out to those with disabilities

Sulphur Grove United Methodist Church gentle worship (WDTN Photo/Kelley King)


HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WDTN) — The YMCA on Shull Road in Huber Heights transforms itself every Sunday into a church to unite families and individuals with disabilities in prayer.

“Church is really hard because this idea of sitting for an hour silently, in one place is unrealistic,” said Sulphur Grove United Methodist Church Pastor Caleb Speicher. “The rules of staying seated, and quiet, and pious, have been thrown out the door.”

Every Sunday, members of the church take 45 minutes to set up the gym in the YMCA and get it ready for a gentle worship service. The service is designed to give people with disabilities an outlet to pray and practice religion comfortably. During mass, people can walk around, eat, and talk with one another in a more mellow setting.

“We bring the lights down, bring the volume down,” said Pastor Speicher, explaining how mass is catered to people with disabilities.

It’s a safe haven for people like Zach Holler. Zach uses a motorized wheelchair and is partially blind and deaf. He relies on help from others to communicate. He takes part in gentle worship on Sundays with his family, hoping to follow in the same footsteps as his pastor.

“He is a wonderful man. I am so blessed to be working with him as my mentor,” stated Holler.

Zach is studying ministry at the United Theological Seminary. His passion is to work with other people affected by disabilities.

“Our goal is to see people of all abilities together in worship,” said Holler.

The gentle service began about a year and a half ago after the pastor realized the need in the community. As the service continues to grow, he’s hoping for even more support.

In 2016 the church will be moving gentle worship services from Sundays to Wednesdays so more people with disabilities can get to church with more access to transportation.

For more information about Sulphur Grove United Methodist Church, click here.

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