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Honored guests walk down the red carpet at Night to Shine amid pops of camera flashes and cheers. Night to Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, was hosted by Life Community Church in Owensboro, Ky. Photo provided by Life Community Church

‘Night to Shine’ elevates special needs attendees

OWENSBORO, Ky. — More than 100 people with special needs attended the Night to Shine in Owensboro, Ky., an event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation the weekend before Valentine’s Day.

The ladies were adorned in sparkling dresses and the men were decked out in tuxedos as the evening they had been awaiting with great anticipation came to fruition. Flashes of photography and cheers from the crowd created a wave of excitement as the honored guests, each accompanied by a volunteer “buddy,” strolled the red carpet Feb. 10.

Honored guests received the royal treatment during the evening with hair and makeup stations, a shoe-shining area, corsages and boutonnieres. Limousine rides, catered food, karaoke and, of course, a dance floor also were part of the gathering.

The evening of glamour, music and elegant attire, although exciting for all who came, also was a stage for members at Life Community to showcase the unconditional love of God.

“We got to show tonight, the entire city, that Jesus loves them,” said Life Community Church pastor Kenny Rager said.

The congregation saw the Night to Shine as an opportunity to host a great experience for people with special needs, as well as for the hundreds of caregivers, volunteers and donors.

“We were able to minister to over 100 attendees, their families and the volunteers,” Rager said. “The entire community came together to make the night possible, with many people donating time, space, services, attire and funding.”

Life Community Church was one of about 200 churches around the world to host a Night to Shine event for people 14 and older with special needs, giving the opportunity for churches, volunteers and guests and, most importantly, God to shine.

Rager said Life Community Church has an ongoing ministry to residents at the Wendell Foster Center, a residence for people with special needs. He said when the congregation learned about Night to Shine, they decided it would be yet another way to show love.

“Our church is honored to be able to reach out to people with special needs because people with special needs are people who still need Jesus,” Rager said.

The pastor said his role for the evening included visiting various places within the event to share the Gospel. More than half of the 300-plus volunteers had indicated they don’t have a home church, which Rager said provides an opportunity to share the love of Christ in a loving atmosphere.

The memorable evening came to a meaningful close as each honored guest was crowned King or Queen of the Prom as a reminder that they are each royalty in the eyes of God.

— by Brandy Crase | BP

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