October 14, 2016
Contributed by Sally DePalma
I am sitting in a tea house taking a break, catching up on work and preparing to man a table representing disability ministries for Day 2 of the Dynamic Communities’ Summit16 Convention taking place in Tampa. What an incredible experience Day 1 was. I’m still processing it!
The multi-ability Portico Chorus, with over 30 members, helped kick off this four day software conference, funded primarily by Microsoft, by singing two songs to the audience of 7000 people from all over the world. A standing ovation (and a few tears) capped the first song, “Why We Sing”. The crowd was then invited to clap along to the “can’t help but move in your seat” gospel song, I’ll Fly Away”! Our singers felt like rock stars as applause lasted the entire time it took for them to leave the stage. Wow.
Our “Fun and Games” table attracted people to come relax for a few minutes and have a good time! Guests had fun playing a giant Jenga or Connect 4 with individuals with disabilities. Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots is a total hit! Lots of laughs all nights! There were meaningful conversations about the impact of disability on people’s lives, but the hope in efforts, such as ours, to make a difference. We met people from the UK, Calgary, Houston, Chicago, LA, Detroit and more. Who knows who we’ll meet today?
This incredible opportunity to be at Summit16 became available when Andy Hafer, Founder and CEO of Dynamic Communities, approached four ministries close to his heart, The One Roof, The Portico Chorus, iMatter Special Needs Ministry of Palma Ceia United Methodist Church in Tampa and YoungLife Capernaum to be the featured charities at this annual conference. We are grateful to Andy and Dynamic Communities for this unique and powerful platform to shine a light on an aspect of life that does not always get such respect.
It is interesting to experience the fun and authentic interfacing of some of the best technical minds in the world with those who many would discount as not having anything much of value to offer. God is at work and we are excited to see how He uses the connections that we make this week to impact lives (maybe over an intense game of “Operation”!)
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” ~1 Corinthians 1:27