Impact Feature Issue on Supporting Wellness for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Church Means Lots of Things to Morgan


Contributed by Morgan Vice and by Tammy Vice, Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Morgan Vice (striped dress) surrounded by friends at the church she attends.

Morgan keeps a calendar beside her bed. Every evening, before she says her bedtime prayers, she marks the current day with an X, and then writes down her schedule for the next day. Monday through Friday is routinely marked “School, Home.” Saturdays are marked “Breakfast.” If she has a special event coming up, she will mark it ahead so she can count down the days. On Saturday evenings, she looks up at me and says, “Church, C-H-U-R-C-H.” But for all of us, church is more than just a Sunday thing.

Morgan looks forward to seeing her teachers and friends. Our church holds regular Buddy Breaks, Vacation Bible School, and socials throughout the year, giving her lots of opportunities to stay connected with friends. When asked what she likes about church, one answer is, “Lots of friends. Lots of stuffs about Jesus.” Beyond worship, religious education, and social events, she enjoys the church library, the fitness center, and piano lessons through their music program. Morgan is currently learning various jobs at our church through her school-to-work program. Now that she is in her final year of school services, we are realizing how precious these continued connections will become to Morgan, and all of our family.

Morgan is on the autism spectrum, and she sometimes thinks the world revolves around her. When Morgan’s Sunday School teacher told her that her husband had the same birthday as her, she said, “Oh no, that’s not right. That’s Morgan’s birthday.” Through church, she not only learns how to serve others, but prayer is also very important to her. When Morgan knows someone is hurting, she is quick to say a prayer, right then and there: “Dear Lord, please make it all better. Take care of it.” It touches people. She is quick to pray out loud for herself, too. When asked what Jesus does when she prays, Morgan replied, “Jesus loves Morgan.” In other words, she knows who’s got her back.

But you never quite know what she will say. She has her introvert side, so sometimes when she is ready to leave a gathering, she’ll announce to everyone, “What time is it? Too many friends. I’m done!” It’s a nice problem to have.