UMCD and ELDA Celebrate Deaf Ministries together in Las Vegas
The United Methodist Congress of the Deaf (UMCD) and Evangelical Lutheran Deaf Association (ELDA) celebrated our third joint conference on Deaf ministry together in Las Vegas, NV from July 23-29, 2018. This partnership called Deaf ELM has continued to form new friendships and partnerships for Deaf ministry in both the UMC and ELCA. We are grateful for Don Rosenkjar and Rev. Stephanie Jaeger from the ELDA for their hard work as the host committee in making this a fantastic conference!
As part of our meeting, the Certified Lay Servants training program taught by Carol Stevens and Karen Miller held both basic and advanced courses. As the ELM conference began, we shared reports on our mission trip to Kenya and Zimbabwe and also learned of ELDA trips to Nigeria. Our own Billy Deters from Florida won the talent show competition with a wonderful skit about his care and compassion for a Deaf homeless man he met. Our conference closed with a banquet where we presented the Daniel E. Moylan Award for Deaf Evangelism by a church or ministry to the United Methodist Deaf ministries of the Mutare District of the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference. These churches include Hilltop UMC, St. John's UMC, St. James UMC, and King Solomon UMC. We also presented the Philip J. Hasenstab award for Deaf Evangelism by an individual to LaSander Saunders. Congratulations to this year's winners!
During the UMCD business meeting we discussed the vision and role of UMCD as community based organization of Deaf UMC members seeking to connect the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late Deafened, and Deaf Blind communities to the UMC. This differs from the UM Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries committee (UM-DHM) which is a part of the general church structure. We brainstormed a good deal of ideas for UMCD and they are recorded in the UMCD minutes. A number of action ideas and priorities were also brainstormed and recorded in the minutes. Carol Stevens volunteered to coordinate a group of “Lost Sheep Finders” who would be looking to find where all our deaf ministries are and what they're doing.
We also discussed next steps for the Certified Lay Servants training program. Look for upcoming training events at Jurisdictional meetings! The next step would be Certified Lay Ministry training. This process is more complicated than Certified Lay Servants as it requires the approval of one's church, minister, and district committee on ministry. It is something someone should only pursue if they feel called to it and can decide on a particular kind of outreach and ministry with their church and community. UMCD and DHM agreed to set up a joint committee on Certified Lay Minister training to see the development of curriculum and support for those who feel called by God to do this.
UMCD also discussed our recent mission trips and a desire to have something more affordable and close to home to widen the opportunity for those who feel called to do some sort of mission work. Look for the other article announcing plans for a mission trip to the Red Bird Mission in Beverly, KY in 2019.
A preliminary reportson the next Global Mission Conference of Deaf Methodists in Brazil to be held in 2021 was shared by Rev. Tom Hudspeth. Details are still taking shape, but everyone should be saving up and holding fundraisers now. Also, UMCD ministries should also have fundraisers to raise money for holding the conference itself as the DHM may not be able to provide as much funding as they have in the past.
UMCD also held elections and are happy to confirm the following officers:
President: Billy Deters
Vice President: LaSander Saunders
Secretary: Sandi Johnson
Treasurer: Linda Ford
We will need to elect a new Vice President and a new Treasurer at our 2020 meeting. So consider if God is calling you to a leadership position.
Lastly, we agreed and announced that the 2020 meeting of UMCD and our ELDA partners will be held in Orlando, Florida in 2020.