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Church to host ‘Night to Shine’ prom

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Saturday, January 12, 2019

A Rocky Mount church is going to help make people with special needs feel awesome with a prom night-like gathering.

Englewood Baptist Church early next month is going to again host Night to Shine, a worldwide event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation during which people ages 14 and above with special needs get to enjoy red-carpet treatment in a festive atmosphere.

That atmosphere includes the guests being paired with a buddy, getting the chance to enjoy a dance floor with a disc jockey, a karaoke room, photo ops and limousine rides. Also, a makeup team is going to work with the female guests and a shoeshine team is going to work with the male guests.

"We want them to see that we love them," said the Rev. Jordan Reese, 35, associate pastor of children at the church at 1350 South Winstead Avenue.

"We want them to see that the church loves them — not just Englewood, but the church as a whole," Reese said. "We love them because we believe God loves them and made them and made them special. And we want them to feel special. We want them to feel valuable and important that night."

The local Night to Shine is set for 6 p.m. on Feb. 8 and is going to be the second one Englewood Baptist Church has hosted.

Reese said the event culminates with every special guest being crowned the king or queen of the night.

"And so there's not a king or queen of the prom," Reese said. "It's everybody's crown. Everybody receives a crown — and they're all crowned that special guest of the night."

The Tebow Foundation, which dates back to 2010, is led by former college and professional football quarterback Tim Tebow. The foundation seeks to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.

Tebow, who's presently part of the New York Mets’ minor league baseball organization, has been vocal in expressing his Christian faith in the field of athletics.

Reese said the Tebow Foundation reached out to Englewood Baptist Church about two years ago and provided information about what the foundation offers in ways it ministers to people with special needs.

Reese said the church always has had a heart for people with special needs and admires what Tebow has been able to do in leading a movement toward providing for this group of people.

"So we were very excited to be considered and to be a part of what God was doing and to be a part of what God was doing — and what the Tim Tebow Foundation was doing worldwide," he said.

He said he and the rest of the church would love for Tebow to come to the event. He said he's aware that Tebow shows up unannounced at different events.

“So we don’t know if he’ll be here or if he won’t be here, but I’m guessing he won’t be here,” Reese said with a laugh.

Reese said about 180 guests showed up for the 2018 Night to Shine and he's anticipating about 200 guests for this year’s event.

More than 250 people from the church and the community volunteered to help with the 2018 event, and he said he anticipates the count is going to be the same for this year’s event.

To learn more about the church, call 252-937-8254 or go to www.englewoodbaptist.com

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