SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - The smiles were genuine, the joy hard to contain. For more than two dozen local residents with physical or mental disabilities, Friday night was a special time to be celebrated as “guests of honor.”
The Luke 14-Night To Shine Banquet was held at First Baptist Church in Salisbury. Based on the Biblical scripture passage in Luke 14, it was a night to simply honor the guests and their families.
Organizers say the chapter that inspired the banquet deals with Jesus encouraging followers to show love to all: “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”
One of the organizers, Jtan Whisenant, described it as "A night for those who are sometimes overlooked by society. A time for them to feel the love and encouragement of Gods people."
Guests, wearing their finery, were brought into the church fellowship hall through a festively lit portico. Once registered, they were escorted down a long red carpet by Salisbury firefighters, and cheered on by a team of encouragers.
The next step was to select a little bling; tiaras for the girls, boutonnieres for the guys. Then they stood in the photo studio to have a picture made.
Once the guests reached the dining room, they were entertained by a strolling illusionist and offered plates full of hors d'oeuvres while waiting for the catered meal.
There was musical entertainment by well known local artist Matthew Weaver, who encouraged guests to get involved by dancing or singing along.
FBC Pastor Dr. Kenneth Lance shared a word with the guests, using the analogy of a snowflake to show how everyone is uniquely created by God. While each is different, Lance said, each is loved and valued by the Creator, and that when combined together, create a beautiful landscape.