God Moving At Maranatha
Welcoming the Deaf Community
Several weeks ago, Quinte Deaf Fellowship (QDF) approached me to ask if their group could worship in Maranatha’s building on Sundays. I brought their request to Council, and the response was unanimously positive. As one elder put it flatly, “Why would we NOT invite them to come?”
The people of QDF have already been joining our Tuesday afternoon prayer meetings and staying to worship together afterward. So, when their worship services start here on Sunday, November 20, we will be building on the fellowship we have already begun.
There are many exciting possibilities involved in this development. A new sign language course, facilitated by one of the QDF leaders, has already filled up to capacity with people eager to learn how to communicate basic greetings and information to our guests. I see us sharing moments of fellowship together in church services, as well as afterward, and hearing one another’s testimonies. I think God will show us over time more ways to mutually enrich one another.
Someone asked me: “Will our new guests be coming into the auditorium for worship services on Sundays?” The answer to that is “no.” They will meet in the Intergenerational Hub on their own. As I recently learned, it is actually difficult for most deaf people to take in a message delivered to them without consideration of the unique way deaf people share information with one another. Our guests will do best if they have someone communicating directly to them in sign language.
That said, some deaf people do enjoy sitting with the larger congregation, and will benefit from the ministry of our interpreters. There are some QDF members who have hearing spouses or friends who will join them on Sundays, and who may also appreciate being able to take in our regular services. For these reasons, we believe that by providing both interpreted worship services and deaf-specific services we will have the greatest impact in spreading the Gospel among those who cannot hear.
I believe our connection with Quinte Deaf Fellowship is a move of God’s Spirit. I’m eager to see where he will take us in months to come.
— Pastor Tom