The following is a Christian Work Project sponsored in part by a grant from the Boston Baptist Social Union.
The mission of TABCOM Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministry is to promote and support deaf leadership in deaf ministry and the accomodation of hard of hearing people in local churches. The director seeks to this through a change in ministry focus. In the past, her efforts were event based and she hopes to become more relational and supportive by meeting with deaf and hearing leaders and sign language interpreters in the Boston area to support and pray with them at least twice over the coming year.
There is great need for this type of ministry as there are no deaf people in leadership at the denominational level that deaf leaders can go to for prayer, support or accountability. Nove of the people who serve in supervisory capacity in most denominations do not sign. Availability and skill level of sign language interpreters is prohibitive for these deaf leaders to meet with hearing people in authority over them; consequently, they have very little prayer support, source of encouragement and accountability. Many of the sign language interpreters report that often their pastors are so busy and overwhelmed that they have little time to meet and pray with them or provide much encouragement. They are in need of support through prayer and encouragement from someone who understands what they do and what it's like to interpret in a church setting . Unfortunately, the political climate in Massachusetts among professional sign language interpreters (who are largely non-believers) is sunch that little or no support is given to the interpreters who work in churches, in fact, they are criticized and marginalized. Anne is a good candidate to provide such support, as she is a professional sign language interpreter who interprets frequently in local churches.
Specific steps to be taken include contacting deaf and hearing leaders and sign language interpreters to set up a time to meet for a meal, fellowship and time of prayer. Anne will be hosting many of these people in her home. She would like to give a book to all the people she meets with entitled “Rest in the Storm” by Kirk Jones, pastor of First Baptist Church of Whitman and professor of Christian Ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological School. She will use four prepared questions to facilitate her visit and allow time for fellowship and prayer. She will ask those she meets and prays with to complete an evaluation at the end of her visit to assess the effectiveness of the project.