Adults with intellectual and physical disabilities share their musical talents through the Triangle Alliance Chorus (TAC) at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Cary, N.C. The choir is a “splendid example” to the congregation and community that a person always has gifts to give and share with others, said Mike Harris, TAC director and minister of traditional music at Christ the King.
“TAC demonstrates to us that all of God’s children have value and purpose,” he said. “TAC has been one of the most challenging and more rewarding groups I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I’m sad that we haven’t been able to sing together for over 18 months. I’m eagerly looking forward to the day when it’s safe for us to once again make music together.”
The choir has about a dozen regular members, who include people with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Prader-Willi syndrome, as well as a person who had a leg amputated due to cancer.
Josef Herz-Lane lives with cerebral palsy and sings baritone in the choir. “I, the Lord of Sea and Sky (Here I Am, Lord)” is one of his favorite hymns. “It makes me feel good, and I can inspire other people,” he said. “My mom always says that we are blessed to be a blessing. When I sing with TAC, I’m a blessing to others. People clap and let us know how much they love it. It makes me feel good. I have CP, but that doesn’t stop me!”
The choir has about a dozen regular members, who include people with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Prader-Willi syndrome.
The congregation stepped in to become the choir’s administrative sponsor and fiscal agent in 2019 when TAC lost its affiliation with a nonprofit community agency. It seemed a natural fit, as the choir had been rehearsing at the church for several years.
Another reason TAC was a good program for Christ the King to take under its wing is that it complements the PossAbilities Network, its disabilities ministry team.
When Wolfgang Herz-Lane, a pastor of Christ the King, was serving as bishop of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, he and his son Josef started the Definitely-Abled Advocacy and Resource Team (DAART), a synodical program to engage people with disabilities and raise awareness of disability issues. “We came to [North Carolina] and Christ the King in November 2016 and found a need for a similar ministry on the congregational level,” he said.
Christ the King received a $5,000 grant from the ELCA to help jump-start the ministry. Since then, it has undertaken major renovations to make its campus and building more accessible. The network sponsors an annual “PossAbilities Sunday” in October, has offered a six-week Sunday school class called “Jesus and Disabilities” that is taught by team members and has sponsored several ecumenical prayer services.