Thursday, June 28, 2018

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Committee Announces 2018 Grants

Recipients of the 2018 grant cycle from the United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries have been announced. Four grants have been awarded.

First is New Hope UMC, Brunswick, Maryland. The church relates that they were approached by a family with two Deaf children, and two more who use sign language to communicate, about starting a Deaf ministry. The ministry, now known as “All God’s Children,” has been conducted on an irregular basis with volunteer interpreters. With the $1500 grant, New Hope intends to provide a weekly interpreted service, and participate in the local community by offering ASL classes and eventually, to help at community events. The church will also, in keeping with the intent of the grant, work to making this service and outreach a long-term ministry.

Liberty Grove UMC, in Burtonsville, Maryland, will receive $1000 to assist in the installation of an Assistive Listening Device system, and training in Deaf ministry and system use. The congregation has had an infrared system that is no longer functional.

Equipment to support and expand the existing ministry at St. Andrew UMC in Titusville, Florida will be provided by the third grant. Since 2015, the church has provided one ASL service per month and conducted some ASL classes. With projection equipment, the church will be able to use training videos and take them into the community, as well as offer Bible study classes.

Finally, the committee will host a seminar on Deaf ministry start-up for the Baltimore-Washington Conference. This will include orientation, introduction, interpretation, and preparations. The materials from this seminar will then be refined to become available to assist Deaf ministries in other annual conferences.

In a separate, earlier grant, the Committee supported a Deaf autistic family camp. This camp seeks to bring inner city families with Deaf autistic needs for a time of spiritual renewal, recreation and supportive community.  These families have little means and there is a great deal of loneliness and limited access to parenting skills. The camp hopes to meet with family members for some sessions about parenting as well as hold sessions together for recreation and worship. This will be the second year of this camp. Attendance has increased as the word spread, and the camp has added new speakers and more opportunities for Bible class for the children.

Churches that are interested in Deaf outreach can log on to the Committee’s website, which has a variety of resources such as the e-book, Breaking the Sound Barrier in Your Church. The Committee also maintains a page about the grant program which includes stories of past grants. 

May we join Tom Hudspeth in this prayer: "Gracious God from whom all blessings flow, thank you for the generosity represented in these gifts of funds used to create new places of faith community and worship for those who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, late deafened and Deaf-Blind. Guide the United Methodist churches of St. Andrew, Liberty Grove, New Hope and the Baltimore-Washington Conference, as they open their doors, hearts and minds to the communities they serve. O Lord, bless too the members and advisers of this UM-DHM, for their service to You and to the communities they serve in Your name. In the name Jesus Christ we pray. Amen."

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