New Mission class to hold ‘Singspiration’ Saturday

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2018

For the past 16 years, the sounds of joyful music have echoed through the sanctuary at the 15th Street Church of God as the church’s New Mission Class has held its annual performance. Made up of 18 adult members, ranging in age from 31 to 80, the Sunday School class is unique in that its members each have some type of disability.

“We’ve been doing it for 22 years, as a result of my going to a convention of 800 people with disabilities,” class teacher Terry Conner said. “I came back and told the Christian education board that there was a population of folks we were really not ministering to. So we started a class with three and now we have 18.”

For Conner, who was instrumental in starting the New Mission Class in 1996, her work is done in honor of her daughter. Missy, as she was affectionately known, died at the age of 24 and was born with Down Syndrome.

“She lived a really full life,” Conner said. “I knew that they are very capable of doing anything, given the opportunity. Mostly, the legacy to my daughter is what keeps me going.”

While Conner admits she is not musically inclined herself, she recalls the love that she saw in her daughter for music as what inspired the Singspiration. While the group started its program 16 years ago, it evolved three years ago into its current form. As the New Mission students began singing in their Sunday school class, they began to learn more and more songs, including tunes that utilized sign language.

“I think this is an opportunity for them to get up and let everyone see what they can do versus always having to sit back and watch other people do,” Conner said. “So this is a very special night for them and they work hard on it … People can see their abilities versus their disabilities.”

Together with her co-teacher Shelby Hodges, Conner and the New Mission Class participate in weekly lessons, outings and community service projects meant to show God’s love in a practical way.

With approximately 18 songs, the singing is set to last approximately one hour. The program starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at the 15th Street Church of God, and all are welcome to attend.