Genesis Kardi moves to its new time of 4:00pm each Sunday. Genesis Kardia is a new worship service that is designed for persons with special needs and their families, although anyone and everyone will be welcomed to experience and participate. The name is a melding of the the words Genesis Kardia into a fresh understanding of "Beginning Heart."
Come on, Join us and uninhibitedly worship God!
Come on, Join us and uninhibitedly worship God!
(Reprinted with permission from Forsyth Family Magazine - Sept 2013 edition)
There's an old adage, which says, "What goes around, comes around." In the coming weeks, we at Sunrise will bear witness to the veracity of this statement. In mid-September, we will launch a third worship service. This news may strike some as rather peculiar considering that the we just recently started a second service and both of those still have plenty of room for growth. So, why do they believe they need a third service? As the pastor, Dr. Tim Roberts, puts it, "We are expecting all Heaven to break loose!" Is it possible that he and the church are being overly optimistic or have they received some divine inspiration?
Sunrise Church has been part of the western Forsyth community since the early 1990's and has a history of being groundbreakers. From its inception, the church has prided itself in being a bit different from its sibling churches. It began its casual worship service, starting at 9 a.m. in a time when most people still gathered in dresses and suits for an 11 a.m. service. But around the turn of the century, Sunrise started something that was really radical.
The pastor at the time, Danny Leonard, visited a church in South Carolina, which had a ministry for people with special needs. Having a heart to reach people whom are often overlooked, Danny approached the leadership of Sunrise about starting a similar ministry. From that conversation, The <i>No Limits II</i> dance was born. Almost eleven years ago, <i>No Limits II</i> started as an opportunity for people with special needs to socialize with each other on a regular basis. The first gathering had a couple of dozen people in attendance, but it did not stay that way for very long. As more and more people heard about the ministry, the number of those participating grew. The monthly dances grew to such a size that the fire marshal became concerned and a new venue had to be found so that the ministry could continue. Pinedale Christian Church opened its doors for several years before they too became unable to hold the amount of people attending each month. Then in February after searching for a larger facility, The Village Inn Event Center in Clemmons offered to become the new location in which to host the dance.
As stated at the beginning of this article, "What goes around, comes around." Jayne Koeslin can also attest to that truth. Jayne, a Special Education teacher, member of Sunrise and a coordinator of The No Limits II dance, began to feel a divine tug at her heart to inquire about ordained ministry. After praying about this sensation, she sought out the counsel of her pastor, Tim Roberts. During their initial meeting, she poured out her heart about this feeling that God was calling her into some type of ministry, especially ministry with persons with special needs. She did not know how that would be possible, but Tim assured her that if God was truly calling her, the details would work out. She left their time together feeling a bit relieved that maybe there would be a way to satisfy the deep nagging that she was experiencing, while continuing her passion for special needs. Tim knew from experience that many times God calls people into very different areas of ministry than where they have experience and expertise. But he also knew that Jayne would have a long journey into ministry process and plenty of time to figure out where God is leading her. He then went back to work on charting a course for the church to follow as it had recently once again redefined its mission and vision to reach all persons with the love of Jesus, beginning with those in the community Sunrise is placed.
The work of ministry often drowns out the voice of God. Because of this, Pastor Tim has become keenly aware that when God needs to get his attention, it usually happens in the dead of night. He recalls an event from several months ago, when early one morning, God decided it was time to talk. "I was sleeping soundly when all of a sudden; I bolted straight up with my heart racing. I knew that God was calling and I would not be able to get back to sleep until I listened to what needed to be said." While walking around in the kitchen, Tim described the moment when pieces began to fall into place. "It was just a remarkable event! I began to see how so many seemingly random events and histories were really pieces of this large puzzle that God was putting together." He began to see that his experience in beginning new worship services and his doctorate on creating new faith communities within existing congregations were a couple of well-defined puzzle pieces. Along with those pieces were Jayne's call into ministry and her passion and experience in working with people with special needs. Then finally, almost like being the border pieces for a cosmic jigsaw puzzle, was Sunrise's history with beginning and growing a ministry for persons with special needs. "All these pieces were like coming together before my eyes," recalls Pastor Tim, "being intricately fitted together by some unseen hands and it formed a new focus for the vision for me and Sunrise."
On September 15th, Sunrise United Methodist Church will begin a weekly worship service called Genesis Kardia, which will be targeted for persons with special needs and their families, although anyone and everyone will be welcomed to experience and participate. The name of this service was contrived by Jayne as she understood Genesis, being a word for "beginning" and Kardia as a word for "heart." In essence, the name is a melding of the Old and New Testaments into a fresh understanding of "Beginning Heart."
Of course, most, if not all, churches are open to this segment of the population, so why will this be such a special emphasis for Sunrise? Jayne explains, "God has brought together so many wonderful people who want to ensure that persons with special needs have the same opportunities to worship God as everyone else. This is also an opportunity to teach the community that people with special needs, are people first and just like everyone else. Their disability does not define them, but is only a piece of who they are. But, due to their unique characteristics, often times their families don't feel comfortable or accepted in many churches because they don't want their family member to disturb others with a sudden outburst or behaviors that are not “church” behaviors. To have a worship service where that is not only okay, but expected is a wonderful relief!" Once they heard about the prospect of this new service, one mother of a son with autism responded, "Thank you for remembering us! My son loves church and has not been able to go!"
Some may wonder what other differences will be in order for this new service. Pastor Tim explains that while they are planning the structure and flow of the first few services, they aren't planning much beyond. "This service will be a living community of followers of Jesus. God is the one breathing life into it. We're just delivering it and helping it grow. But it will form and develop just like any living thing. It will take on its own identity and unique characteristics." The worship designers are hoping that after a few weeks, the regular participants of the service will begin to take on some of the roles in leading worship, such as greeting, leading prayers and songs, providing some liturgical dances...there are no limits to what God will do. Also, the service will be very participatory, visual, and incorporate some repetitiveness to help ensure the retention of key bible verses and lessons.
Along with the differences, there will also be some common elements that will be found in all the services. Pastor Tim explains that the weekly theme and message will carry through all the worship services, so that regardless of which service anyone comes, they will come away with the same message and learning points.
Pastor Tim is also hopeful that the new service will serve as more than just an avenue for this special population of people to worship God. "I believe God is going to use this service as a catalyst to bring the full community of faith together. For far too long, persons with special needs have been marginalized, out on the fringes of society. But the love of God has the awesome ability to bring together what the world has broken. This new service may serve as a pathway for some to move in and others to move out, drawing in to be close to God and being sent out to serve the world."
When asked if they were worried about Genesis Kardia outgrowing the facilities like No Limits II did, Jayne and Pastor Tim just smiled. "Now, wouldn't that be a great problem to have?! But, No, we don't believe it will. We believe Sunrise knows this is our God-given time, our God-given mission, and our God-given vision. We will rise to meet the demand as it presents itself."
Want to Participate?
Each Sunday afternoon at 4:00
Sunrise United Methodist Church
1111 Lewisville-Clemmons Road
Lewisville, North Carolina
Address: 1111 Lewisville Clemmons Road, Lewisville, NC 27023 Phone: (336) 712-8000
Office Hours are 8 AM to 3 PM weekdays.
Office Hours are 8 AM to 3 PM weekdays.