Offering a sign language interpreter to spread the word of God in some area churches is a great community asset, but at Bible Baptist Church, interpretation alone isn’t enough when saying you offer a deaf ministry.
“Ministry means that you are ministering like you would to any other segment of society,” said Renee Kinney, director of the church’s deaf ministries located at 2113 Morgan Johnson Road.
Kinney holds a Sunday school class where both deaf and hearing church members study sign language and watch videos of a YouTube deaf missionary the church supports. The lessons are held in what Kinney called simultaneous communication because it is both in voice and sign language.
“So the hearing understand it but they can see the sign language so they are learning, and for the deaf, it is totally their language,” Kinney said.
Sign language is the fourth most used language in the United States, but Kinney said many deaf people don’t learn sign language until their early adult years. And too often, their family members never learn it all.
“It’s not unusual,” she said. “One of our deaf is 23 and grew up in a household sitting around a dining room table and nobody knew sign. Ninety percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents who never in their lifetime could hold a meaningful conversation with their child. They feel very isolated.”
The thought of a deaf child feeling that…