In the fall of 2022, our church examined the book of 1 Corinthians, and we were reminded of the importance and value of every member of the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12–26). The body doesn’t function well when a part is missing. At Rich Fork, we began a journey many years ago to do our part to include special needs children, students, and families in our church body and community. Throughout Scripture, the Lord shows us His heart and His view of each of us, with whatever level of ability we have. He has made each one in His image and is the author of life.
Months ago, we began asking a series of questions, “How can the church become a place to welcome, invite, and create a space of belonging for those from all levels of abilities? How can the church make the gospel more accessible to all people?” Our answer to these questions revealed a few barriers that may distract or discourage special needs families from attending regularly.
Families with special needs children have to fight for everything. Even things we need. But the church is giving us a playground without even asking. I'm speechless.
- Local Special Needs Parent
This year we are striving to ensure that our special needs families are cared for in love and safety, by committing to a few projects on our campus and with our volunteers by doing the following:
Promote more information for new special needs volunteers.
Provide training for volunteers regularly.
Examine our current classroom needs and add various manipulatives and safety measures.
Improve our playground space for our special needs students.
Each opportunity is an investment, whether time, talent or even our treasures.
The proposed playground for our special needs families is the most significant investment, but it also can provide an immediate and long-lasting impact. The amazing fact is that our yearly giving has outpaced our budgeted expenses for the past five years, leaving us a surplus to pay for this equipment without incurring any debt. Thank you for being generous. It has allowed us to dream big!
This beautiful playground will include level and safe spaces for mobile and wheelchair-bound visitors. It will provide covered areas for shade and comfort, inclusive swings, sensory objects, and benches for guests to rest and enjoy watching their loved ones have fun!
Scroll through the images below for various views of the proposed play area.
While we have the resources on hand to pay for these improvements, we also have had numerous church members, and people in the community, desire to contribute to this project. If you are interested in participating in this particular act of generosity, go to our give page, drop down to the Special Needs tab, and then give to this investment. You may also give by check by including in the check memo: Special Needs. The estimated total for this project is $230,000.
Every gift is equal when hearts are united to grow the kingdom of God.
Making the gospel accessible to people with all levels of abilities is following the example Christ has given us. Thank you for “Expecting MORE” than we could even ask or imagine when we surrender to our savior. (Eph. 3:20-21)
ESTIMATED TOTAL INCLUDES:
Repairing drainage issues and grading of all areas for safe and level construction
Pour-in-Place wheelchair accesible flooring
Purchase and installation of new Special Needs inclusive equipment that is wheelchair accessible
Installation of Innova Rocker, multiple slides, climbing apparatus, and movement-inclusive manipulative area
Shade canopy as well as outdoor benches for families and volunteers
*Be sure to choose Special Needs from the drop-down selections. *