Bartimaeus Baptist Temple has
ministered to people with disabilities, their families, friends and caregivers
since 1959, first as a mission of North Dallas Church, then of First Urbandale
Church. In 1977 the congregation moved to its present location in a small white
frame building at 6929 Day Street in Southeast Dallas. Founding Pastor Don
Whitmore was disabled with a palsy that caused
trembling in his body and also some difficulties in hearing, yet he and his wife Anna Ruth were outgoing and his disability gave them understanding in working with people
with all types of disabilities in their congregation.
Today Donís son David Whitmore and his wife
Priscilla continue the mission at Bartimaeus Baptist Temple, named Bartimaeus
after a biblical figure who sought out Jesus and was healed.
Transportation assistance is one of the many ways the small congregation
supports its members. A van equipped with a hydraulic lift goes to nursing
facilities and area homes to bring disabled members to church. Several
trips are made to bring everyone together. Members who drive pick up those
who are blind or do not drive.
Church services are aimed at accommodating people
with disabilities. Rather than the typical early morning service, Sunday
services at Bartimaeus Baptist Temple begin at 2:30 p.m to allow members more
time to prepare, and for the van to reach everyone. The church itself is
accessible, with ramps, handrails and wide spaces allowing easier mobility for
its members with disabilities.