Special Education Ministry began in 1968 when Bill Parlburg, a student at Western Theological Seminary, brought people together to create a night of community and fellowship for individuals with disabilities. It is a place of growth, learning and love. The group started with 7 students and 7 teachers growing their love of God and gaining more knowledge about His word.
Over the past 55 years, SEM has grown to have over 60 students and has flourished in partnership with Hope College. Through the years, not only has the community grown but so has the organization. The group is overseen by a board of 9 passionate individuals. They help keep the program running and innovative. They love to visit and engage with the students any chance they get!
The Ministry hosts fun events throughout the semester to produce even further fellowship and community. Some favorites include Fell in Love Farms, the annual Christmas Party, and even fun themes every Tuesday night!
The group gathered for their final Tuesday of the semester and celebrated all the amazing things that SEM has done and offered over the last 55 years. Including students and volunteers who have been around to see all the growth.
We are beyond proud to be celebrating 55 years and are excited to see the continued growth that will happen over the next 55 years. We can’t wait to continue spreading His word and upholding our amazing community that has been built.
Special Education Ministry had the opportunity to visit Fell in Love Farms, in Holland. The students were in awe and overjoyed to be surrounded by such warm and loving animals. The organization is a non-profit on 11 ¼ acres near Lake Michigan. It all started with their passion for animals, and being able to create a space for all to feel welcome.
For the past few semesters, SEM students have made a trip out to visit their adorable critters. Students got to get up close and personal to animals such as goats, llama’s, and donkeys. Their faces in the photos say it all! If you or anyone you know is interested in joining next time we visit, reach out to us! We are always looking to grow our SEM family and continue to put smiles on our students and teachers' faces.