New Mission Class celebrates 20-year milestone

Published 6:11 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Twenty years ago, a new kind of Sunday school class was born.

Dubbed the New Mission Class, its outlook was just that: a new mission to serve those with developmental and/or physical disabilities.

Starting at 15th Street Church of God with just three members in 1996, the class has now grown to 27 members, who meet every Sunday and Wednesday, and participate in a variety of community projects throughout the year.

To celebrate the milestone, the New Mission Class has organized a “Singspiration” event Sunday at 6 p.m. at the church, featuring a live band and a mix of crowd and classic gospel favorites.

Terry Conner started the class in memory of her daughter Missy, who had Down syndrome and passed away at the age of 24. Now the class teacher, Conner said her daughter’s love for God opened her eyes to a need for this kind of class.

“Working with her and seeing her experience with the Lord, I just wanted to continue working with them and teaching them about the love of Jesus,” she said. “What better way to keep her memory alive?”

Conner is proud of the New Mission Class, and works with friend Shelby Hodges to lead it. For her, it’s about meeting the needs of a population that was neglected spiritually.

“The class was built on love, basically, because of our love for (Missy),” Conner said. “I just wanted everyone to be able to experience that.”

What has stood out to her over these past two decades is the members’ dedication to God, and along with that, their dedication to the Washington area.

Disabilities don’t hold this class back. They are passionate about raising money for Relay For Life and collecting soda can tabs for Ronald McDonald House, among other projects. The class also goes on trips together.

“We’re just like one family,” Conner said. “I have grown to love all of them just like they are my own.”

As for the next 20 years, Conner said she wants the group to “continue to grow and be a blessing in our community.”

“Their commitment and love has definitely been a blessing to me,” she said.

The 20th anniversary “Singspiration” will be Sunday at 6 p.m. at 15th Street Church of God, 336 E. 15th St., Washington.