Supporting churches to include people with Autism and Learning Disabilties

 

 Monday was the first Celebration session for Prospects at the Keswick Convention.  I was quite nervous but really bouyed up by the lovely team I’ve joined and their apparent confidence in that everything would be just fine. Andrew’s meticulous planning came into its own as the session started and I soon settled into going through the script and doing what I needed to do.  I didn’t have time to think before the session ended (right on time) and it was done. Along the way I had met and talked to most of the guests that came along, made new friends and enjoyed the feedback session where the team shared what they’d noticed and the blessings they’d received.

After the smooth success of day 1 I was feeling confident… What could possibly go wrong in Day 2…
To be truthful, nothing actually went wrong…it was just that it was my turn to run the drama and a lively group from Carlisle had joined us.  The room was full (we had to pray for elastic walls – which was a prayer God answered!)  The drama was acting out the parable of The Good Samaritan. So far, so good…

What I didn’t account for was the superior acting ability of some of the Carlisle group. The man who played the ‘victim’ decided to make the role his own.  He first threw me off my stride when he declined to let the robbers have his money…”No Way! that’s mine!” He declared.

After the priest and Levite had pass by him him jumped up, arms wide and declared “I’m better now!” To which I hissed, “get back down, you’re still in agony.”  I’ll give him his due, he then acted ‘in agony’.

(Side note to team: you crying with laughter didn’t help me keep order so I could get my story told! 🙂 )

He allowed the Samaritan to help him up, place him behind the actor who was playing the ‘donkey’ and dutifully trundled off to the inn. His final bow was  suitably demonstrative. As I whispered ‘take the donkey home now’ to end the drama, we were treated to a cheeky “WALKIES” to the donkey.

To be honest this made my day as hard as it was not to panic when the drama began to unfold before my eyes, it has brought so much joy to us all as we’ve laughed and relayed the story time and time again. It is what I love about our group back in Leyland too  –  adults with learning disabilities engaging with the Bible and bringing joy through teaching us to allow for their interpretation and expression.

  
Our main stage visit. can you spot our puppet, Molly? 

Tuesday night was also the visit to the main tent and evening session of Keswick Convention. Prospects celebrations have traditionally gone up on the main stage to share on a Wednesday night, but this year it was Tuesday.  This was also a new experience for me and again I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but the guest themselves were really excited and so was I.

If you ever get the chance to watch what we did (I will add a link once I have one) you will need a tissue for your tears of joy. One of our guests, Elizabeth gave such a moving testimony about her job and how her disability and faith makes her able to empathise with the elderly people she looks after.  We then sang a beautiful song and signed it for the audience. It was fabulous hearing them all join in singing it with us.  It was great to take Molly our puppet on stage too.  Here are some of the words…

“God loves you just the way you are

And he knows everything about you

His Holy Spirit is our guide

And he will make you more like Jesus.” 

(Song by Tony Phelps Jones, available from http://www.prospects.org)

So, tomorrow is a big day in that I am running the afternoon puppet workshop but I know I will have great help from the team….and it’s Andrew’s turn to do the drama…phew!

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