Julie Hutson shared the following thoughts about SOTH’s Joyful Noise project:
Worshiping with Jayce has not always been easy. His compulsive behavior, obsessions, and impassivity can be a challenge. It can be exhausting, and there were days when I wanted to give up. Despite our struggles over the years, we continued to use trial and error to find things that worked for him.
I am grateful that SOTH provides a place of acceptance for Jayce by allowing him to participate and be involved in the life of the Church. Jayce loves his Church family and feels safe. However, I know that there are many families missing or not connected because their children are not able to “keep it together” and it is a constant struggle. “Churches are considered a refuge. We call our Worship space a Sanctuary, but traditional Church does not always feel welcoming. Even when we offer parents assurance, families often feel self-conscious when their child is making noise or moving around during service. They will encounter hours of embarrassment, impatience, frustration, and disappointment.”
That is why I am excited and fully support a Joyful Noise Service. I understand these parents and how they crave community. This service would be designed to be welcoming and inclusive where families can worship without the burden of societal pressure. However, we must keep in mind that this ministry is not one where able-bodied people help their disabled counterparts, as many people mistakenly see it.
Instead, it will be a reciprocal ministry and service where everyone needs each other and benefits from each other’s abilities. A place of acceptance where differences are celebrated. A place where children are free to worship with their heart, soul, and body. A place where they are not asked to sit still and be quiet. A place full of unwavering grace, unconditional love, and a room full of Joyful noise. A place of acceptance where families can Gather, Grow, and Go. I’m confident it will be a place where everyone will come face to face with God.