USA (MNN) — The process of choosing a church to attend can be difficult. But for Deaf Christians, finding a church can be downright overwhelming.
Just ask Jason Suhr, a Deaf believer and the National Engagement Coordinator for Deaf Bible Society. “From my personal experience, I was born into and I grew up with a Deaf family. So from the time I can remember, we always attended Deaf churches. But when I moved out of state to go to college, I didn’t know where I could find a Deaf church, or a ministry that was available to me as a Deaf person, which was frustrating. I know that my experience was like that of many Deaf people all over the country.”
(Photo courtesy of Deaf Bible Society)
That’s why Deaf Bible Society came up with the idea to create a directory of churches and ministries with various levels of Deaf accessibility.
Suhr explains, “There was one out there, but it was really out dated. So we decided it was time to offer something that was updated annually with new and current information — a database that people could look to and find a church to attend. [And] not only a church to attend, [but] information on if this church offers a service led by the Deaf, or if it is going to be interpreted and things like that. It was really important for us to know that the information we offer is current.”
So Deaf Bible Society created Deaf Church Where, an online directory of churches and ministries with Deaf accessible services in the United States. Suhr says all the churches and ministries are placed in four searchable categories.
Accessible Deaf Church – “…meaning you can request an interpreter.”
Integrated Deaf Church – “…where a church has weekly interpreted services.”
Supported Deaf Church – “…where a Deaf and Hearing church are partners, but have a separate service for the Deaf led in Sign Language.”
Independent Deaf Church – “…a church that primarily serves the Deaf community where all ministries and services are lead in sign language.”
(Image courtesy of Deaf Bible Society via Facebook)
He adds, “Since we are constantly updating the directory, we are excited to add information when a new Deaf church or ministry becomes available. So I would encourage you, if you have a Deaf church or ministry, check to see if you are listed at Deaf Church Where. If not, reach out to us! We love to feature when there is an opportunity for the Deaf community to connect to a church.
“If you would like to add your Deaf church or ministry information, feel free to contact us by calling 1-800-654-3690. Or, for all you Deaf folks, you can call our video phone at 505-273-3507.”