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Developmentally disabled gain sense of worth

Adults with Down’s Syndrome, autism and other developmental disabilities are living as productive members of society, fully functional with meaningful lives through a unique Christian ministry, Del Harrington, director of community relations at Mustard Seed, told local residents at a recent meeting of the Fifty-Plus Club.

Harrington said the Flowood-based Christian community has provided services to developmentally disabled persons since 1981. “We meet their spiritual, emotional and intellectual needs in a loving and protected environment with meaningful activities which allow them to fulfill their God-given potential,” she said.

“We work with 43 clients – or ‘seedsters,’ including 10 women and eight men who live in group homes in a family-like setting,” Harrington said.

“Parents whose children had development disabilities, including Down’s Syndrome and autism, created the ministry to assure their care as adults.”

PHOTOT SUBMITTED / Del Harrington is the director of community relations at Flowood-based Mustard Seed.

PHOTOT SUBMITTED / Del Harrington is the director of community relations at Flowood-based Mustard Seed.

Seedsters participate in a ceramics art therapy program, Harrington detailed. “Through their ceramics, they are able to demonstrate their creativity, ability and talent, and gain a sense of self-worth and accomplishment by making artistic utilitarian products that are sold through the Mustard Seed Gift Shop and generate 15 percent of the ministry’s operating budget,” she said.

Seedsters also perform in a Bells of Faith Handbell Choir that offers them an opportunity to share their faith by “leading worship and demonstrating their abilities rather than disabilities to listeners.” Harrington said.

Donations from foundations, corporations, churches, families and individuals as well as the ceramics sales support the Mustard Seed ministry.

The Fifty-Plus Club, which encompasses persons 50 years of age and older from Copiah, Lawrence, Lincoln and Franklin Counties, met at the Crystal Springs Steak House for the group’s July meeting.

Durr Walker, retired chairman of the Division of Humanities at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, will present a slide-video presentation with narration and music at the Aug. 21 meeting of the Fifty-Plus Club. The presentation is based on his book, “Wesson-Industrial City of the South.” The meeting will begin at 10:45 a.m. at the Crystal Springs Steak House.