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.
Joni and Friends Chicago Times of Transition Seminar
Join us on Saturday, October 7 for a free seminar presented by Joni and Friends Chicago for teens and adults affected by disability, parents and caregivers, church staff and workers, and ministry leaders, and educators.
This seminar is hosted by Special Friends Ministry at Willow Creek Community Church in S. Barrington. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Space is limited.
Watch Joni Eareckson Tada share her journey and how she found joy in the path God designed for her:
Caregiver Support Group
Caregiver Support is a time for parents and caregivers of those with special needs to be encouraged, equipped and supported as they share life's journey with each other. Through large-group teaching, a prayer and connection time, and small-group discussion, participants can experience joy, hope, and healing in this caring, Christ-centered community.
Bi-Weekly Meetings: Caregiver Support meets from 7–9:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of the month in the Center Balcony at Willow Creek's South Barrington campus. Participants are encouraged to gather from 7-7:30 p.m. in the Lakeside Auditorium for a church-wide worship gathering.
Fall 2017 Dates: September 20; October 4; October 18; November 1; November 15; December 6 (Holiday Gathering)
Register for Caregiver Support here.
Questions? Email Sunday Section 106B Leader Michelle Pilafas at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Section 106B: South Barrington weekend service for families
Sunday @ 9 & 11:15 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