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Colorado Special Needs Networking Event + Special Night of Worship (OC14 Spotlight: Katie Garvert)

January 9, 2014

This week we’re introducing you to Special Needs Track speakers at the upcoming Orange Conference.  We’ve had a great week so far, as many of you have interacted with our two previous guest posters.  Doc Hunsley shared his story on Monday and on Tuesday he provided tips for starting a special needs ministry.  Yesterday (Wednesday), Connie Hutchinson talked about church-based IEPs.  Doc and Connie have been busy answering your questions here and on The Inclusive Church’s Facebook page.  We’ve had an incredible exchange of ideas for the past three days.  (This is such a great reader audience! Thank you!)

Today we are spotlighting Katie Garvert, Access Ministries Coordinator for Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  I’m also excited to share about an upcoming event that Katie is a big part of this weekend.  If you live in Colorado, we’d love for you to join us.  (Yes, I’ll be there too!)  Woodmen Valley Chapel’s Access Ministries and Awakening Artists are joining together to host Night of Worship: Loving Beyond Our Limits.  This special service is to honor, bless, and share stories of church families who are affected by disability.  This is a first-time event for Woodmen Valley Chapel and is open to anyone to attend.

In addition, Katie has offered to host a special needs ministry gathering for leaders from other churches immediately preceding this special service.  This will be a casual time to talk about special needs ministry, answer questions, and share ideas before going into the Worship Center for Night of Worship.  If you live anywhere near Colorado Springs and have an interest in special needs ministry, it doesn’t get much better than this.  I am pinching myself, excited to be flying to Colorado for Sunday’s events.  I hope to meet those of you who can make arrangements to join us.  Here are the details:

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Sunday, January 12th 
Woodmen Valley Chapel
(Rockrimmon Campus)
240 Woodmen Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80919

Special Needs Ministry Leader Gathering + Q&A
4:00 – 5:30pm
Worship Center Lower Level, Room #112

A Night of Worship:  Loving Beyond Our Limits
WVC’s Worship Center 
No RSVP needed

Now, a little about Katie and Orange Conference…Katie has led workshops previously for the Special Needs Track.  She’s returning this year to lead two conference breakouts.  To give you a taste of Katie’s rich content, we’re linking over to Steve Cullum’s blog, where he provides excellent summaries of Katie’s 2011 Orange Conference Breakouts: 

Building a Safe and Successful Special Needs Ministry
Successfully Including Teens on the Autism Spectrum

After reading Steve’s posts, I think you’ll understand why Katie is such a popular presenter.  Katie is essentially a walking textbook on all things special needs ministry.  She has invested tremendously in me personally, leaving her fingerprints of influence on everything I write.

We’d love for you to join the conversation through comments (below), on Facebook, or Twitter.  Anyone who leaves a comment or asks a question here or on social media will be entered to win one FREE ticket to The Orange Conference 2014.  Names will be added to the drawing through Friday and we’ll announce the winner on Monday, January 13th.

What has worked for your church when including a teen with special needs?  

The Inclusive Church on Facebook
Amy Fenton Lee on Twitter
The Inclusive Church on Twitter
Katie Garvert on Twitter


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Katie Garvert is the Access Ministries Coordinator for Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Woodmen Valley Chapel currently serves around 90 individuals affected by special needs.  Over the past nine years Katie has helped WVC establish special needs inclusion programming over virtually every age group and stage of life for this multi-site church.  The Access ministry hosts a dad’s support group, regular parent respite events, sibling retreats and respite camp experiences for students with special needs.  Katie also oversees the church’s deaf and hard of hearing ministry.  Through her role with WVC, Katie connects attending families to different agencies in the Rocky Mountain Region while also serving as a family advocate at students’ meetings in schools.  Katie frequently speaks at other ministry conferences to train church leaders for better special needs inclusion.  Prior to joining the WVC staff, Katie was a special education teacher in the Colorado public school system.  You can follow Access Ministries on Facebook and Katie on Twitter.

Katie will be leading two 2014 Orange Conference workshops:
Special Needs Transitions: Middle School, High School, and Beyond
Promoting Spiritual Growth in the Family with Disability 

Other Posts Featuring Katie Garvert:
Helping the Marriage inside Families with Special Needs
Training Church Leaders to Start a Special Needs Ministry
Supplying a Special Needs Ministry on a Low Budget
Should Parents Lead a Special Needs Ministry?
Special Needs Space Planning Tips
CM Connect Radio Interview:  Training SpN Ministry Volunteers

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