Special Friends at Willow CreekThrough our world-class, sensory-friendly space, the Special Friends programs at Willow South Barrington help those with special needs fully engage in the life of the church. Their families and caregivers can attend Weekend and Midweek church services, knowing their loved ones are engaged in a safe, fun program designed to help them learn about God and build friendships with one another.
Get Connected at South Barrington
- New Family: Before your first visit, please complete our Family Information Form. This registration helps prepare our staff and volunteers to welcome you and be equipped to provide a safe environment that meets the unique needs of your loved one. REGISTER »
- New Volunteer: To get started, join us for a "Volunteer Experience" at 8:15 or 10:45 a.m. on Sundays during the worship service to observe the exciting vision and energy of Special Friends in action. REGISTER »
- Special Friends Space: Special Friends meet in D150 (kids) and D154 (Teens & Adults). View pictures of the space below! Learn more HERE >>
Special Friends Kids: Ages 4–12
9 & 11:15 a.m., Sundays | Room D150
A sensory-friendly church service for children with special needs or sensory processing issues. Special Friends staff and volunteer side-by-side "buddies" engage children through modified Bible stories, sensory play, music, and prayer. Join us as we learn about God through gross-motor activities and hands-on teaching in the Special Friends space!
Special Friends Teens & Adults: Age 13 & Up9 & 11:15 a.m., Sundays | Room D154
A sensory-friendly church service for teens and adults with special needs or sensory processing issues. Special Friends staff and volunteer side-by-side "buddies" engage teens and adults with live worship, group discussion, modified Bible teaching and hands-on learning activities. Join us for social connection and hands-on learning about God in the Special Friends space!
Special Friends Adult Community: Age 21 and older
6–9 p.m., Wednesdays, Atrium, Lakeside Auditorium, & Room D154
A community group for independent adults with special needs who do not need a personal assistant. Special Friends staff and volunteer "mentors" engage adults in dinner/fellowship, worship in the Midweek service, a relevant Bible study and small group experience. Join us for social connection, relationship-building, and hands-on learning about God in the Special Friends space.
Special Friends Christmas at Willow Creek 2016: Two special dates for the Christmas services!
Wednesday, December 21
5:30 p.m. ǀ Caroling, Cookies and Celebration The Special Friends Section 106B will host a FREE dinner featuring the 106B caroling singers and Christmas Cookie Buffet! This is an event for ALL people and ALL ages. Following the dinner, everyone is welcome to sit in Section 106B to enjoy the 7 p.m. Christmas service celebrating the season. All are invited to join our caroling choir (no rehearsals, just big hearts needed). Those who would like to sing and/or donate to our cookie buffet, side salad, or bread donations can do so when securing their dinner reservation below. Register here.
7 p.m. ǀ Christmas Program for Teens & Adults with Special Needs During the 7 p.m. Christmas serve, the Special Friends Ministry will offer a Christmas Program for teens and adults with special needs in their newly remodeled, state-of-the art space. Special Friends will open 45 minutes before the service. This will give you time to check in your teen/adult with us and for you to be in your seats on time for the start of the service. Register here.
Friday, December 23
4 p.m. ǀ Christmas Program for Kids (Ages 4-12) with Special Needs
The Special Friends Ministry will offer a Christmas Program for kids (Ages 4-12) with special needs in their newly remodeled, state-of-the art space during the 4 p.m. Christmas service. Special Friends will open 45 minutes before the 4 p.m. service. This will give you time to check in your child with us and for you to be in your seats on time for the start of the service. Register here.
5:30 p.m. ǀ Sip and Nibble Reception
Following the 4 p.m. Christmas service, Special Friends Section 106B will have a time of refreshments including finger foods and desserts and a photo wall for family pictures. To accommodate our guests, we are asking you to RSVP and register below. At that time, you can also designate interest in providing a dessert. Register here.
Special Friends Production: Aladdin Jr.
Each fall, Special Friends performs a musical for the Willow community, putting the kids & students incredible abilities on display. View highlights from this year's production here:
Section 106B: South Barrington weekend service for families
Sundays @ 9 a.m. section leader: Michele Pilafas (847) 404-7452
Section 106B is a diverse community with a heart for individuals with special needs and the family, friends, and fans who support them. Section leader Michelle Pilafas is the chairman for the Commission for Disabled Citizens in Hoffman Estates. She and her husband, Gary, have four remarkable sons, two of whom have special needs.
Special Friends Staff Contacts