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As a hearing person (even though I am an interpreter), I do not grasp the
significance of the isolation many deaf experience while attending churches that
are mainly hearing. Any churches who have a heart to reach the Deaf go out of
their way to learn the language and open their doors to the Deaf community.
Sign language classes are started and everyone is excited, but then reality sets in.
After a few weeks, only a core group of the truly interested are left. They are the
ONLY people in the church who will be able to speak to a deaf person who comes
through their doors.
Recently, I read a book by a hearing man regarding growing up with deaf parents.
When speaking of their beloved language, American Sign Language, his parents
said, “We lived for sign. The ability to communicate with one another was like the
water of life, our oasis of language and meaning in the midst of the huge expanse
of desert silence and incomprehension that was the greater hearing world.” If
you were in a church for several years and only two or three of the members
could have meaningful conversations with you, would you stay? Just something
to think about!
Editor’s Note: Scott and Tricia Crabtree and their family have recently
moved to the Columbus, Ohio, area and are beginning Deaf Bible studies
to prepare for the opening of the LIFESIGNS Deaf Baptist Church.
Reseeding America – Spring 2018 13