Special Friends Retreat: Where worship is pure


The Special Friends Retreats are made possible by funds given through the Mary Hill Davis Offering. The Week of Prayer for Texas Missions and the Mary Hill Davis Offering is September 13-20, 2015. Click here for resources for your church to help promote this special offering in your church.

Worship is anything but mundane at the annual Special Friends Retreat, hosted by Texas Baptists' Childhood Discipleship Department. Smiles, laughter and joyful tears are evident all weekend long amongst the campers, who all face mental disabilities.

For 29 years, the Special Friends Retreat has welcomed special needs people over the age of 12 for a weekend of learning more about God through Bible studies and worship, making crafts, participating in missions and displaying their God-given gifts through a talent-show.

The security the campers feel while being surrounded by like-minded people is what Gwen Maler, a Bible study leader for the retreat, says contributes to the atmosphere of genuine worship.

"My worship becomes stronger because of their worship. They are totally uninhibited. They're worshiping with their whole heart," she said. "When the campers are at the Special Friends Retreat, they are so happy and so unstressed. They can be who they are, and God can really work on their hearts."

Did you know?

  • According the Census Bureau's American Community Surveys program, approximately one out of eight Texans faces some form of disability, which equals to around 3 million people in the state.
  • At the Special Friends Retreat, parents meet in support groups, where they can spend time with other parents who understand obstacles with raising children with special needs.
  • Church leaders have the opportunity to learn from special needs ministry experts about how to build or strengthen their special needs ministries.
  • The Special Friends Retreat takes place annually in September and October in two locations: Cedar Hill and Floydada.
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