Published 1/12/2021

Spencer Church will host virtual Night to Shine for those with special needs


Jan 11, 2021

SPINDALE – Spencer Baptist Church in Spindale will serve as a host of Night to Shine 2021, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, Church officials say the “unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, celebrating people with special needs,” will be held by host churches around the world simultaneously on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 through a unique online event.

“In a time when so many people have been left feeling alone or alienated, it is important for Spencer Baptist to stand with the Tim Tebow Foundation in this way to honor our local community of people with special needs, ensuring they know they are valued and they are loved,” said Kelly Settlemyre, youth minister at Spencer.

Spencer is coordinating the local event. This is the first time a Rutherford County site has hosted Night to Shine.

“When we originally applied to the foundation to take part in this, we expected to host an in-person event,” Settlemyre said. “But, we still intend to make his a meaningful event.”

Caregivers will be given an online link, through which special needs guests who are signed up for the event may access the live event, that will include live musical performances, and special messages, culminating with a message from Tim Tebow.

During the week leading up to the event, Settlemyre and volunteers will deliver a box full of gifts for the Night to Shine guests including prom favors; and their caregivers will receive a “respite care” box of gifts.

“Those who are already signed up for Night to Shine, are very excited,” Settlemyre said. “This is our first time hosting the event, so we are not exactly sure what to expect, but we know we are going to make it special, and meaningful.”

The event is open to special needs guests age 14 and up. Settlemyre ays it is all about sharing God’s love.

Linda and Doug Tribou are the parents of a daughter, Corrine, who has special needs. Linda is the Spencer Baptist Church secretary, and came up with idea for the church to host Night to Shine.

“Our daughter has attended live Night to Shine events the past four years in Marion,” Tribou said, “Those were amazing. She had a great time, and always looks forward to it. She is a little disappointed that this year’s will be virtual, but she is glad that it hasn’t been canceled.”

Settlemyre says she is impressed with the support they have received from the Tim Tebow Foundation. When it became clear that the church would not be able to host an “in-person” event, foundation representatives encouraged the church to proceed with the virtual event. Settlemyre says Tebow’s commitment is obvious.

“The reason Night to Shine is so special to me is because all the boys … all of the girls … that the rest of the world has forgotten, that so many times we haven’t clapped for, we haven’t cheered for, we haven’t loved … this is the night where we get to bring them together and say you matter, we love you and we are throwing this awesome party because that’s how special you are,'” Tim Tebow stated. “This is why we knew we couldn’t cancel Night to Shine 2021. Our heart is always to love and encourage and it’s never to put anyone at risk and that is why we are confident in our decision to celebrate Night to Shine 2021 as a fully virtual experience.”

As sponsor of Night to Shine, the Tim Tebow Foundation is providing each host church with infrastructure and support necessary to execute the virtual experience, with personalized guidance and support from foundation staff. The foundation also offers ongoing special needs ministry resources through Shine On to assist churches in beginning or enhancing special needs ministry at their church, providing more opportunities for the honored guests to be loved, served, and celebrated year-round.

The is the seventh year of Night to Shine. In 2020, 721 host churches and 215,000 volunteers came together with Night to Shine, to celebrate 110,000 guests with special needs.

“We hope to have 75 special-needs guests participate,” Settlemyre said.


To sign up for the virtual Night to Shine 2021, call the Spencer Baptist Church, 828-286-2355, or visit the church website or Spencers Facebook page. Settlemyre said they are also seeking community and business supporters for the event, through donations to help with the gift boxes for the special needs guests and respite gift boxes for caregivers.

“Next year we hope to have an in-person Night to Shine,” Settlemyre added. “The pandemic has been difficult on everyone, and especially those with special needs who are also dealing with loneliness and upset routines. It’s important now for us to show them God’s love. We want everyone to feel loved.”