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February 17, 2004

Church of the deaf offers denomination ministry legacy

From: Worldwide Faith News (press release) - Feb 17, 2004

From "NewsDesk" NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG
Date Tue, 17 Feb 2004 11:24:00 -0600

Feb. 16, 2004 News media contact: Tim Tanton*(615)*42-54*0*Nashville, Tenn.
* E-mail: * ALL{059}

NOTE: Photographs and UMNS stories #058 and #060 are available with this report at

A UMNS Report
By Mary Cahill*

Charles Waters is one of the oldest surviving members of the old Whatcoat Black Deaf Mission. He signs his last name in American Sign Language by placing three fingers for a "W" over his heart. Waters and his fellow Whatcoat "alumni" have passed down a legacy of heart-felt ministry.

Among their many bequests to the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference is Christ UMC of the Deaf. What does Christ United Methodist Church of the Deaf offer today?

* 231 members and 30-plus nonmembers who attend regularly. The congregation is 46 percent white, 52 percent African American, one percent Hispanic and one percent non-citizens from Africa.
* Worship in American Sign Language for deaf people.
* Encouragement, training and resources to equip members for ministry within the congregation and community. * A strong discipleship program, with Bible study, church school for all ages, United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men.
* A prison ministry to deaf inmates.
* A visitation ministry to deaf residents at a mental health institution.
* Religious education at deaf schools and deaf immersion/education experiences for hearing seminary students.
* Deaf mission trips to help develop needed programs and relationships in Zimbabwe and Kenya.
* Camps for deaf and deaf/blind youth and adults at West River Outdoor Ministry Center.
* A food bank and a low-income housing project for deaf clients.
* A Deaf Shalom Zone that provides collaborative, hands-on ministry and relationships among deaf people in Baltimore and surrounding communities.
* "Breaking the Sound Barriers in your Church," a resource to help hearing congregations provide translation services and other ministries to deaf communities.

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*Mary Cahill is a writer for the UMConnection, the newspaper of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference.

United Methodist News Service
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