Christian Deaf Leaders Conference 2016
Submitted by LaSander Saunders
The Deaf Christian Leaders Conference, or “21cDC,” for the 21st century Deaf Church, met in Omaha NE on October 19-22, 2016. UMCD members LaSander Saunders, Karen Miller, and Mary Ann Deters attended. Among other groups that were part of this conference were Deaf Harbor, Door International Deaf Bible Society.
Workshop themes included many speakers focusing on Rethinking, Empowering and Engaging in Deaf ministry. Sometimes leaders hold on to our ministries and don't want to let go. Instead leaders should be willing to pass on the ministry to someone new and let them lead. One referred to this as “probortunity,” giving others an opportunity to lead successful ministries.
Other workshops included
- empowerment through Christ-centered Community, with emphasis on being concerned, kind and welcoming to church visitors and members. We never know when we may help someone going through tough times.
- empowerment through Christ-centered worship, or Christ-centered advocacy.
- utilizing current technology, apps and ASL translations, and engaging the Deaf community through Bible stories.
- last, the question “What Now?”: Going Forward. The current focus is centered on the next generation. We are praying for the next conference to take place at Gallaudet University in 2018.
After each workshop, we had questions for discussion at each table. We also took time to pray for each other as we expressed our concerns. Prayers were Spirit-filled with love and hope. We provided support by sharing success in ministry at our churches. Lots of networking was going on as we introduced and met people that could provide information in many areas of concern. For example, one conference-goer wanted to be involved with missions to Haiti; another needed advice to help start a ministry for young adults. Everyone was eager and willing to help each other in the most encouraging ways. The conference also provided a prayer room to spend time in and for reflection.
A tour of the Deaf Missions office was also provided. We visited with a teacher in the training center, translations team and video filming team. It was wonderful meeting new friends for the first time, and great to see old friends. We had a blessed time, enjoyed every minute. I thank God for the opportunity to attend the 2016 Christian Deaf Leaders Conference.