Angels In Our Midst

Angels In Our Midst

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Angels In Our Midst (Rev. Dale Patterson)

Updated: Tuesday, March 19 2013, 11:01 AM CDT
For 20 years, Rev. Dale Patterson has religiously made his way every Tuesday to the Pensacola Developmental Center.

Rev. Patterson: "Nate, you're all dressed up this morning."

Rev. Patterson admits that after the first several weeks, he wondered if he was reaching these clients, who have profound developmental disabilities. Unsure, he stayed away.

Rev. Dale Patterson, Ministering to All: "The third week I came back out here, when I walked through that door, they began to applaud, and that settled it for me. There's a reason, there's a purpose, it does make a difference."

Betty Jones, Developmental Center Activities Director: "He saw the joy on their faces and the claps and the applause and the hugs they gave him, he realized that this was where I need to be."

He shares simple messages of encouragement and hope.

Joanna Dykes, Remembers the Message: "I know he taught that we are unique. God still loves us. God still loves us."

Then there's everyone's favorite part of the service: singing.

(Singing) "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it..."

They call out the songs in their hearts, one after the other.

Rev. Patterson: "I jokingly say this is the only place in the world I can lead singing and get by with it."

(Singing) "...shoot the artillery. I may never fly o'er the enemy but I'm in the Lord's army."

Rev. Patterson is just as accepting and patient when they boldly step forward to lead their own songs.

- "What are we going to sing Paul?"
- "'The Old Rugged Cross.'"

"The Old Rugged Cross." They may struggle with the words; still he gives them a voice, their voice.

Rev. Patterson: "They make a noise, and that's a joyful noise as far as I'm concerned. God understands their language."

And so does he.

(Singing) "...and exchange it someday for a crown."

And where words can't reach, something just as simple does.

Rev. Patterson: "A lot of these people have no family. A lot of them, unfortunately, are left here and nobody comes back to see them. And it's a touch. And some of them, that's all I can do is physically reach out and touch them. That's all I can do."

And enough.

Betty: "To us, he's a blessing."

Shawn Jackson: "He's a nice man."

Angels In Our Midst...brought to you by Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.Angels In Our Midst (Rev. Dale Patterson)

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