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November 24, 2002

Group signs praise for God

From: Mansfield News Journal, OH - 24 Nov 2002

By David Benson
News Journal

MANSFIELD -- Former Mansfield resident Linda Beauford was excited as she sat in the front pew of New Life Baptist Church on Saturday night.

When she moved to Columbus several years ago and joined Triedstone Baptist Church, she was bowled over by a group of about a dozen hearing-impaired people who "sign" spiritual call-and-response music.

"It blew our minds the first time we saw it. It was awesome," she said.

And now, with Beauford's assistance, they were performing here.

"I brought them here because I'm trying to do some things for Mansfield," she said. "The city needs Christian activities for the youth on Saturday nights."

Beauford said she contacted New Life's pastor, Clarence Sanderfer, because she knew him through her brother, who is Sanderfer's neighbor. The pastor said the idea sounded like a good one.

"I was really excited to do something for the Lord," he said. The event was open to all members of the community, not just New Life's congregation of 300 people. But Sanderfer is a realist.

"Saturday night it's hard to get people to come to an event like this,' he said.

"But you have to start somewhere and get people acclimated. You've got to try."

The bus from Columbus arrived a little late because of traffic from the OSU-Michigan game, said Tamara Nathan, who coordinates the group called "Hands of Praise." A teacher of deaf children for 26 years at the Huy School in Columbus, Nathan pretty much created the group, according to Beauford.

About 60 people attended the performance, which Beauford said was enthusiastically received.

"We even got a standing ovation and had to come back up for one more song," Nathan said. "It shows that praise for God is appreciated in all its forms."

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