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The Brooks Avenue Church of Christ in Raleigh

Special needs, special children: Seminar to provide training

The Brooks Avenue church in Raleigh, N.C., makes children with special needs a prority. Pictured, from left, are Ben Darling, H.B. Eplin and Nolan Foster in back row; Anika McElvaney, Melissa Woodhouse and Richard Johnson in front row. (Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.)

In a Page 1 story last year, we featured the Brooks Avenue Church of Christ in Raleigh, N.C., and its ministry for children with special needs:

RALEIGH, N.C.“People are going to heaven because of Melissa. She has been quite evangelistic.”
Tears well up in elder Ed Woodhouse’s eyes as he describes what his 18-year-old granddaughter has meant to the Brooks Avenue Church of Christ, a 450-member congregation just blocks from North Carolina State University.
Born with Smith-Magenis syndrome, a rare developmental disorder characterized by mental retardation, speech problems, sleep disruptions and hyperactivity, Melissa Woodhouse hasn’t taught the plan of salvation to anyone herself.
But 10 years ago, she inspired the creation of a ministry for children with special needs at the Brooks Avenue church.
It’s a ministry that has met a huge need in North Carolina’s capital city and led entire families to Jesus, church leaders say.

At the time of that story, Brooks Avenue church leaders expressed a desire to offer training and resources to help other congregations serve such children and their families.

Logo for the 2010 Mid-America Evangelism Seminar

The North Carolina church will make that happen in mid-September. Brooks Avenue ministry leaders will offer classes on reaching and teaching children with disabilities and their families as part of the church’s annual Mid-Atlantic Evangelism Seminar.
The seminar’s special-needs track will include four classes on Saturday, Sept. 18:

• Persons with Special Needs: Who Are They?

• Starting a Special-Needs Ministry

• Components of Effective Special-Needs Ministry

• Teaching Approaches That Work

For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call (919) 821-2400.

For additional background on special-needs ministries, read a Chronicle editorial from last year titled “A special call to serve children.”

  • Feedback
    Good article!
    My wife Jenny works as a special education teacher assistant in a public school and she loves it. One day she asked God what was His purpose for her as she was learning more about her job; well, right away He answered by bringing to church a family with three kids with special needs. Our Hispanic members received them very well and we started right away a Special Ed. Bible Class for them. Now, my wife and Wendy (a member who graduated to teach children w/special needs) are teaching that class every Sunday, and other members are helping out. Thanks for your article as this is a real demographic growing population that we need to reach out to. -Elmer Pacheco
    Elmer Pacheco
    August, 19 2010

    Thank you, Bobby!
    Kimberly Ann Pyles
    August, 19 2010

    Bobby, a great article! Praise God.
    Jerry Smiley
    August, 19 2010

    This is a great article. Melissa Woodhouse is my cousin, and so I have seen first hand the different challenges and struggles a family with a special needs faces every day. Because of her, this ministry has been able to reach out to a whole new demographic that desperately needs support, in the Lord’s name. The Mid-Atlantic Evangelism Seminar will be no exception, and is a great opportunity for anyone to be educated on how to effectively minister to these special children and their families.
    Anyone interested in registration, or just more information should visit www.midatlanticseminar.org
    Will Woodhouse
    August, 19 2010

    Thanks so much for your article. Every year I go to the seminar I come away feeling blessed by the knowledge that so many people are being helped. The seminar is such a service to the churches in this region of the country and Brooks Avenue is so gracious to keep providing it for so many outside of their congregation. I think this year, with the emphasis on the challenges of real life, and especially those families with special needs children, will be the best seminar ever. The event has never been about Brooks Avenue church or even for their members as much as a wonderful service to His Kingdom throughout the Carolinas and Virginia and the others states surrounding. To His Glory it has and always will be. Thank you Brooks Avenue. – John Greenwood – elder
    John Greenwood
    August, 19 2010

    Great article. I love that Brooks Avenue is leading a training seminar for other churches. I have found that many congregations are in search of ideas and help for inclusion programs inside their children’s ministry. I launched “The Inclusive Church” Blog at
    http://theinclusivechurch.wordpress.com/ with this very need in mind.
    Thanks for posting this article!
    Amy Fenton Lee
    Amy Fenton Lee
    August, 26 2010

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