United in Christ’s love, we glorify God
through worship, nurture, and service to all people.

Special Needs Ministry

Kaleidoscope: Special Needs Ministry

“Seeing God’s light reflected in all people.”

We believe that Unity Presbyterian Church should be a welcoming and accessible place for all God’s children. We believe that parents and siblings should be able to worship together and be an active part of the life of our congregation without worry. We believe in creating a safe place for sensory needs. 

Ministry Leadership Team: Under the direction of our Director of Christian Education, Kathryn McGregor, and the Children’s Ministry Team at Unity Presbyterian Church, our Kaleidoscope Ministry Team Leaders work hard to ensure that there is a place in God’s house for all of God’s children. Lauren Lochel, Kim Tatum, and Jenny Fike were inspired to develop this ministry by their children Hudson, Noah, and Collin.


Individuals with all special needs and/or disabilities are invited and encouraged to participate in all aspects of church services and programs with a buddy team by their side.  All Buddies have undergone a Buddy Training and Etiquette seminar before being prayerfully considered as a match by our leadership team.  They focus on six elements that allow this ministry to be fruitful for all involved: Discipleship, Friendship, Safety, Participation, Communication Assistance, and Positive Behavior Reinforcement.

Buddy teams coordinate with families to ensure that the entire family may worship without worry, and so that all are able to learn about and hear the word of God.


From time to time, Unity has a child with special needs that could benefit from having a buddy at church to give them extra support so that they can participate more fully in church programs and allow their parents the freedom to worship and participate in adult ministries knowing their child is supported. Our Kaleidoscope Ministries is looking for adults or high school youth who would be interested in being trained as buddies so we are prepared to provide this kind of support when the opportunity arises. If you want to know more or are interested in being trained, please contact Kathryn McGregor at KMcGregor@UnityFortMill.org


Located in the preschool wing of our church, the Sensory Room offers a safe environment that allows children to explore and interact without risk. Thanks to our endowment grants, this room provides activities and objects that stimulate, calm, or engage all senses.

The Sensory Room is available for use by established Buddy Teams from 8:30-12:00 each Sunday morning. On-Call Buddies check in and are available to support anyone that may benefit from a sensory break during these hours. Guidelines for room use and Unity’s Safe Place policies are posted by the door.  Sensory bags and noise-canceling headphones are also located in the Sensory Room and are available for check out to be used anywhere on Unity’s campus.


Our support group is designed to join together all people affected by disability, including (but not limited to) caregivers, siblings, extended families, healthcare providers, and teachers. The group offers a safe place to prayerfully support one another on the special needs journey. This group intends to meet a few times per year with the goal of developing relationships, share resources and lessons learned, and create a support system for one another.