Joint Statement of ELDA, ECD, UMCD, UM-DHM, December 6, 2014

We the representatives of the Evangelical Lutheran Deaf Association (ELDA), Episcopal Conference of the Deaf (ECD) and United Methodist Congress of the Deaf (UMCD)/United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries (UM-DHM), who have met in a historic gathering at the Cenacle Retreat and Conference Center in Chicago, Illinois on July 30-August 3, 2014, make the following statement:

1. We are grateful for our hosts, the ELDA, for their graciousness in opening their conference to the Episcopalian and United Methodist Deaf delegates;
2. We worshiped the Risen Lord and shared in Holy Communion;
3. We participated in workshops on "Where the Bible Came From," "Differences and Similarities," and "Deaf Missions;"
4. We shared in meals and fellowship outings, visiting the Navy Pier and taking a boat tour of Chicago;
5. We collected donations for St. Vincent's School for Handicapped Children, Haiti; The Little Red School House; and Jamaica Deaf Village;
6. We remembered those Deaf ministry saints among us who have died in the past year, and,
7. recognized the work and ministry of those who promoted evangelism and mission among our denominational Deaf ministries.

An invitation has been extended from the ELDA to the United Methodist Deaf and Episcopal Deaf, to meet again in 2016 in St. Paul, Minnesota. We the representatives of our respective ministries, desire to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and to seek ways of working together, sharing resources, skills and experiences for the furthering of God's work among the Deaf in the United States and around the world. We anticipate that in 2016, we will have a proposed mission statement for presentation, discussion and adoption.

We ask for the prayers from our respective churches and leaders, lay and ordained, as we enter into a season of watching, learning, and discovery of God's grace for the Deaf through Jesus Christ. We give permission for this announcement to be distributed for publication among our denominational news sources and throughout the ecumenical community and Deaf communities.

Don Rosenkjar, joint working group moderator (ELDA)
Rev. Dr. Tom Hudspeth (UMCD, president)
Rev. Marianne Stuart (ECD)
Rev. Beth Lockard (ELDA)
Jeffrey Burns (UM-DHM, president)
Rev. Erich Krengel (ECD)
Mark Koterwski (ELDA, past president)
Carol Stevens (UMCD)
Fr. Peter Williams (ECD)