Music By Laurel Jean

Music By Laurel Jean
Music with a Message and a Mission

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Laurel Jean's Scrapbook

Sharing God's Guiding Glimpses into my Life of Music and Ministry

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Able To Serve

On Sunday, August 22nd, God blessed me with yet another opportunity to serve Him in Worship. My friends and I (His kids of all ages) worked together to offer an “Able To Serve” Sunday at Grace United Methodist Church, Charleston, SC.

Shelby singing at Grace Church

Pictured here is fourteen-year-old Shelby, a gifted soprano, presenting Special Music during the Contemporary service. Folks who attended the traditional service were also blessed by Shelby’s beautiful voice as she led them in the “Call to Worship”.

Taylor singing at Grace Church

Sixteen-year-old Taylor joined us for the traditional service, singing and keeping us smiling with his Spirited commentary!

In addition to accompanying these two “Outa Sight” kids who are part of my Chaplaincy for Blind Youth, I was honored by the invitation to be a pulpit guest, delivering The Message in tandem with Senior Pastor, Dick Broomall.

Laurel presenting to congregation

The message, entitled “Seeing Things Differently”, discussed the integration of the disabilities community in general and the blindness community specifically, within the Body of Christ, The Church. Folks of all abilities were challenged to ask God how they might see things differently in their own lives and in service to the community at large.

Laurel, Jerry and Jack presenting a skit

A couple of small skits illustrated how the incorrect assumptions of well-meaning sighted folks can create unnecessary distractions for those of us who do not see. Here, Jerry (Taylor’s great-grandfather) and Jack (director of Disabilities Ministries at Grace) helped me to reenact a scenario that many of us who are blind encounter on a daily basis. By humorously illustrating things that one should not do, we were able to teach folks how properly to serve as sighted guides, and how to give directions to a blind individual.

Audrey and Zack at Grace Church


Ministry associate Audrey Gunter (current Vice President of Dixie Land Guide Dog Users accompanied by her guide dog Zack), joined in the skits, taking time to teach what to do, and what not to do, when meeting a guide team.

What a blessing it was to be part of this event, as people of all ages, with different abilities, united to praise God and shine His Light!

With over ninety percent of the worldwide blindness community estimated to be unchurched, would you know how to be helpful to a blind person entering your church for the first time? Has your congregation ever considered hosting an “Able To Serve" Sunday? Contact Music By Laurel Jean to learn more. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Stay tuned for more posts like this one. Until next time, God bless you and keep His Song in your heart!

© 2010 Laurel Jean Walden

Saturday, August 14, 2010

August Homecoming

Laurel by Old Unione Church Sign

Here I am, outside of Old Union Missionary Baptist Church, Mt. Vernon, IL. On Sunday, August 8, This congregation celebrated Homecoming.

What a joy it was for Music By Laurel Jean to be part of this Sunday afternoon service, as the folks at Old Union marked over 60 years of fulfilling our Lord’s Great Commission in Mt. Vernon and beyond!

Laurel playing and singing for Old Union Homecoming

The Old Union Homecoming was just one of several Music Ministry stops on the schedule during my most recent trip to my home state of Illinois. I flew into Springfield on Saturday, July 31. An Access Springfield bus, a service of Springfield Mass-Transit, took me to my hotel.

On August First, I caught a cab to New Berlin, where I brought The Message In Music to God’s kids of all ages at New Salem United Methodist Church. My good friend, Carolyn who often drives for me, had brought my piano to the church ahead of time, so everything was all set! This day was extra special because it was the 90th birthday of Carolyn’s mom, Barb.

After Morning Worship, Carolyn took her mom out to lunch while many of us stayed behind, moving my piano down to the basement fellowship hall and getting ready for a surprise birthday party!

Laurel with Carolyn and Barb

I had a great time providing background music for the party. Here I am with Carolyn and her mom.

Other engagements included music for a special open house, and for the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL. Thanks to access Springfield, Lincoln Cab, and a couple of volunteers, I was also able to catch up with some of my long-time friends.

Laurel and long-time friend Millie


Millie, now 82, was responsible for both scheduling and driving me to my first ministry engagement, over 22 years ago! Though time and circumstances prevented us from staying in touch, we were reunited last year. Unbeknownst to me ahead of time, Millie attended my 2009 concert for the Lincolnland Chapter of Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International, where this picture was taken.

Due to several health complications, Millie doesn’t get out as much as she would like to. Still, God’s Spirit shines brightly within this beautiful Christian lady! Public transportation allowed me to visit Millie’s home on several occasions during my recent ten days spent in Illinois. I would also like to thank the pastor, whose prayers and blessings made it possible for me to bring Communion to Millie, sharing in the Sacraments with Millie and her daughter. Through tears, Millie told me afterwards, “Nothing in this world could have pleased me more. No one has ever done anything like this for me.”

On August 10, I was up early to catch another Access Springfield bus back to the airport for a very pleasant flight back to Charleston, SC. God still has more work for me to do, so stay tuned for more posts like this one.

Thank God, and thank you, for your ongoing prayers and support! Until next time, God bless you, and keep His Song in your heart!

© 2010 by Laurel Jean Walden

A Little About Me

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God continues to bless me with a busy and fulfilling life. Even after thirty-plus years, my music and ministry keep going and growing. Blind from birth, I am n avid user of Braille and the long, white cane, in addition to a variety of mainstream and access technology. While my blindness does not define me, I consider it to be a unique gift from God. With this gift comes my opportunity to serve as an advocate on behalf of my fellow members of the Blindness community, living and serving among blind and sighted folks of all ages, on all walks of life. To learn more about my music, ministry and outreach, please visit my Web site, and be sure to stay tuned to my Blog!