LUKE 14 BANQUET
People with disabilities and special needs were showered with abundant love and special honor at the 1st Luke 14 Banquet held in South Central Conference of Seventh-day Adventists’ territory. The concept of the Luke 14 Banquet originated with Joni and Friends. The purpose of It is Intentional outreach to people excluded from the full gospel of Jesus Christ and those who are marginalized. South Central Conference of Seventh-day Adventists sponsored the Luke 14 Banquet on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at the Goodwill Easter Seal-Mitchell Auditorium in Mobile, Alabama. The use of the auditorium was donated to Disabilities Ministries for three and a half hours by the Vice President of Operations, Jean Gardner.
Luke 14 Banquet is based on the parable found in Luke 14:21-23 which admonishes Christians “… go quickly out into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord it is done, and yet there is room. And the lord said, Go, out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”
Under the direction of Elder Harold Goodloe, Pastor of Emmanuel SDA Church, Mobile, Alabama and his Disabilities Ministries’ Coordinators Lubertha McKinney, Patricia Davis, and Brian Johnson, members of the church took to the streets of Mobile to do compassion ministry, in which they extended a heartfelt invitation to those who qualified to attend the Luke 14 Banquet. Many with special needs and disabilities were registered to participate. Close to 100 people were in attendance at the banquet. They were welcomed by the conference’s director of disabilities ministries and Pastor Harold Goodloe who addressed them with inspirational remarks.
Nettie Henderson, Director of Disabilities-Special Needs Ministries, South Central Conference of SDA, was the Mistress of Ceremonies. She gave a warm welcome and explained the name and purpose of the banquet. “The Bible tells us to love people with special needs and disabilities because we are all of the same Body of Christ. We have made a commitment to be intentional about loving you, embracing you and making you our friends. We want to develop a relationship with you. We want to call you on the phone, pray a short prayer with you, talk about Jesus with you, invite you to church events, and invite you to outings in the park, such as, health fairs and community events. We want to be your friend and would like you to want us as one of your friends,” said Henderson. Several people volunteered immediately to be a friend and signed up to be called on the phone with subsequent home visits. Gifts were given to all attendees and an additional gift was given to those who voluntarily signed a disabilities survey form for weekly contacts.
The guests were eager to share their spiritual gifts with solos, congregational songs, and poems. They pulled names from a container for gifts and they were so kind and Christ-like. The food was delicious and fellowship was awesome. Some individuals were members of other churches but we were all on one accord during this event because of the Jesus in us. This celebrated event was followed with Disabilities Awareness Sabbath which included health awareness, mental health awareness, and a concert. The theme for the weekend was “The Church Outreaching in Love and Unity”. The Sabbath message was presented by Nettie Henderson, which educated and sensitized members to disabilities-related issues from a church perspective.
The Luke 14 Banquet was a big success and will be an annual event at Emmanuel SDA Church for inclusion of people with disabilities in all things.
by Nettie Henderson, Director of Disabilities-Special Needs Ministries
South Central Conference