In August 2015, United Methodist Communications published a series of videos presenting "church" terms in American Sign Language (ASL). The words are from a glossary that explains terms in United Methodist law and usage that are often misunderstood or not known to the general public. This series of videos aims to help United Methodists engage with and welcome Deaf and Hard of Hearing people more effectively. Of the 32,000 United Methodist congregations in the United States, fewer than 200 have accommodations for Deaf people who use ASL.
This work is unique in several ways. It marks the first time that
United Methodist Communications has coordinated with Deaf United
Methodists to produce information available on the UMC.org website in
Each video includes sign options and the meaning of the term in American
Sign Language. Individuals who are Deaf, communicating in their primary
language, present all of the terms. All terms are ASL translations of
the glossary, as defined by The United Methodist Church.
A diverse team of American Sign Language users, both Deaf and hearing,
compiled the translations. The team included United Methodist seminary
graduates, native ASL users and professional ASL interpreters.
At the web site, Tom Hudspeth explains how he used an entry from the glossary to teach a class of Deaf and hearing people with great results.
Bringing American Sign Language to UMC.org makes possible language
access to United Methodist teachings and materials directly in ASL. This
is significant step toward opening United Methodist church doors to
individuals who communicate in ASL.
The initial phase was published with translations from the United Methodist glossary. It was funded in part by a grant issued by the Deaf Ministry Fund. The Deaf Ministry committee is part of the Global Health unit of the General Board of Global Ministries.