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Grace Church spotlights musicians with special needs

At a Glance Ken Medema will perform in concert at 3 p.m. Jan. 26. The event is sponsored by Grace United Methodist Church and endorsed by Open Doors Ministry. Tickets ($15 adults, $10 seniors 65 and older, $5 students and children) are available online at www.peopleofgrace.org/concerts or at the church. Scott Griffin and Alan Tripp will perform at Open Doors Ministry Sunday at 8:15, 9:30 and 11 a.m. Feb. 23 worship services. The event will feature their musical talents in addition to a dialogue with Pastor Bob Atkins about how faith has helped them overcome challenges. To learn more, visit www.peopleofgrace.org

Grace United Methodist Church’s Open Doors Ministry draws its name from the United Methodist Church’s motto, “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.”

Created by congregation members Laurel and Mark Fleming and Associate Pastor Lisa Telomen, the ministry has paved the way for kids with special needs to participate more fully in the congregation by making accommodations within the Sunday school. Two upcoming events at Grace promote the ministry’s mission through the performances of musicians with special needs.

The artists in the upcoming concerts “have worked through adversity to develop special gifts of music,” Mark said. “And they are taking these gifts forward to help others.”

On Jan. 26, pianist Ken Medema, who was born legally blind, will perform. With an established career as a popular Christian performance and recording artist, he has ministered to individuals with special needs.

On Feb. 23, Grace United Methodist Church will host its Open Doors Ministry Sunday. The theme for the annual event is God Shines Through Each of Us, emphasizing the blessings that come from faith and perseverance.

Open Doors Ministry Sunday will feature a performance by Scott Griffin and Alan Tripp, graduates of Moody Bible Institute in sacred music and piano performance. The two have performed together for several years.

“They combine humor with incredible talent,” Laurel said.

“We’ve heard them before, and thought they’d be good people to bring back, specifically for an Open Doors Ministry Sunday.

Tripp has had Tourette’s syndrome from an early age but is basically symptom free at this point.

“He was drawn to music where he found healing,” Mark said. “… He still wrestles (with it), but it’s not something that affects his daily life at this point.”

Griffin has an undisclosed disability.

“Both have appeared in benefits and concerts specifically focused on helping those with special needs. They do quite a bit of that,” Laurel said.

The community is invited to both musical events.

“We want to emphasize that there are a lot of blessings that can come about (because of) perseverance and faith in the face of adversity,” Mark said.

“People can develop God’s gifts to them through that faith and through the perseverance.”

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