Twelve-year-old Quade Bischoff celebrated his birthday at the Shine Fall Festival at Southeast Christian Church’s Southwest Campus.
His mom, Angie, said it was perfect.
“I really think Quade thought the cheering section when we arrived was there just for him,” she said. “He hugged each and every person. But he especially loved singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to himself at karaoke.”
Each October, Southeast celebrates the unique way God made each of us with a special event for those with disabilities. This year, the Shine Fall Festival was held at the Blankenbaker, Southwest and Crestwood campuses. All together more than a thousand attended.
Shine Ministry Leader Mary Tatum said the casual, family festival made it easy to love on families one at a time.
“This gave us a chance to make a big event smaller,” Tatum said. “The festival included families so we could spend time with them as well. It was really sweet.”
Southwest Campus member Tom Gahan said the Shine Fall Festival is already a favorite.
“The true joy expressed by our guests inspired volunteers and church members to be free and have fun,” he said “We planned a night for members of the community with disabilities, but their authentic love and ability to be themselves made the night memorable for all. Bingo, karaoke and music in the sanctuary were a hit as we all sang, laughed and danced the evening away. We can’t wait for the next one.”
Southeast member Debbie Ramsey volunteered as a sidekick for a participant who did not attend the festival with a parent or guardian.
“I was a little nervous, but after being at the festival, I’ll sign up every time,” she said.
Andrew Weiner tried karaoke for the first time at the festival. It was a big first for the young man who attends Shine Ministry at the Blankenbaker Campus.
His dad, Community Pastor Jon Weiner, said that has changed Andrew.
“Andrew has relationships with friends and a community that cares,” he said. “It’s life-changing.”
For years, Chad Russell has entertained Shine crowds with his dancing and karaoke.
“The biggest difference this year was having children at the festival,” he said. “We have one little guy named Noah who loved singing. That made it so much fun.”
For info about the Shine Ministry, visit www.southeastchristian.org.