The United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries with logo

2023 Deaf Awareness Week Grants

DHM received and approved 14 micro-grants for Deaf Awareness Week in 2023.

Magothy UMC of the Deaf, Pasadena MD: Baltimore-Washington Conference and Pen-Del Conference Deaf Ministries gathering

“It was wonderful to see old friends and to make new ones. Please, let's plan this event for next year.” — Alma Andrews
group of people signing I love you at conference
“It was so good to have everyone come together.” — Rev. Lisa Holder
communion at meeting
Outcomes: 22 people, building connections and revitalizing persons and Deaf ministries across this new partnership between the two annual conferences.

Ephphatha UMC (Mongolia Mission)

Program: Celebration of Deaf Awareness Month in Mongolia
communion at meeting
“Members of our Deaf and Mute church gathered pastors and leaders from other churches to celebrate and raise awareness.” — Pastor Ganzorig (Global Ministries missionary)
group photo
Outcomes: Connectionalism and creating awareness within the wider community, 100 in attendance.

Northwest UMC, Peoria, IL

Program: Deaf Awareness Sunday
ASL demonstration
“What a wonderful service. We had so much positive feedback from attendees. We are planning a sign language class to continue our learning.” — Teri Sebesta
ASL practice
Outcomes: Planted a new Deaf ministry that will be accessible for Deaf and hard of hearing people. Discovered a deaf teen! The DHM will have a conversation to see if he would serve on the DHM committee as a Deaf youth.

Faith UMC, Southern Nigeria Conference

Program: Evangelism Retreat
guest sheet
“We invited persons from the Deaf community with a total of 44 of them came and joined members of the church. We had group activities to get to know each other, as well as have meals together. This was a first of its kind in the history of the church. This was indeed an impactful event."” — Pastor Samuel Audu
Outcomes: Connected with the Deaf community for the first time. DHM will follow up to encourage on-going connections and starting an interpreting ministry.

Rock Church North Shore, Amesbury MA

Program: ASL/ Deaf Paint Night
group with work
“We hired a Deaf artist and she hosted the event in ASL. There was a team of interpreters voicing for attendees. Feedback included, it was fun, thank you so much, thank you for a great event.' The Deaf artist loved working with us and volunteered to come back.” — Emily Rogers
group at work
Outcomes: We had 11 new Deaf and hard of hearing persons who attended the church event for the first time along with parishioners. The event had sparked a new interpreting ministry that now has ten or more persons attending worship

Epworth UMC / Epworth Children's Center, Cockeysville MD

Program: Deaf Awareness Week
children around a teacher showing ASL
“The entire children's center learned the manual alphabet and sign phrases. This instilled Deaf awareness. These were also added to our October 1st worship service.” — Melissa Feigenbaum
Outcomes: the week-long program raised Deaf awareness and inclusion of Deaf and hard of hearing persons. It sensitized both children and adults.

Mt. Hope and John Wesley UMC Charge, DE

Program: Deaf Festival Trip
several people gathered in a group
“The trip reduced isolation of living in a rural area and connected Black Deaf people with the wider Deaf community. We also had 9 hearing people come to the annual Deaf fest, orienting them to Deaf culture and the wider Deaf community.” — Lynn Kohler
three people at a table, behind them are other tables and groups
Outcomes: the persons from the churches who attended Deaf fest provided an important presence to the wider Deaf community that included racial and geographical diversity.

McKendree-Simms-Brookland UMC, Washington DC

Program: Deaf Awareness Month
worship service with ASL
“We had very positive responses from the church with the variety of performances and participation. The Deaf ministry gave "I love you" buttons to all the church attendees. We plan to teach a sign language class over the next several weeks.” — Lawana “Nikki” Dobyns
worshp service with ASL
Outcomes: This provided the DHM and United Methodist Congress of the Deaf awareness of this Black Deaf ministry in the NEJ. The micro-grant connected the ministry with the wider Deaf ministry in its annual conference as well

Kona UMC, Kailua-Kona, HI

Program: Deaf Awareness Service & Celebration
large group in church
“The entire service featured songs, Scriptures, and the message by Deaf and hard of hearing persons. Kona UMC Deaf Advisor, ReBecca Bennett's message taught me that deafness is NOT a disability.” — Marjorie Winfough
two people embrace in front of church
Outcomes: The special worship service and celebration invited the Deaf to not only participate in worship but also to co-preach. Advocacy was provided to help hearing people see and hear from Deaf and hard of hearing people.

Glendora UMC, Glendora, CA

Program: Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Awareness

“The in-person and online worship service was an opportunity to reflect on how we worship together with Deaf and hard of hearing inclusion. There were heart-felt testimonies. Deaf awareness is now in the forefront of our community!” — Rev. Dr. Hillary Chrisley
church sign wth name and ASL
Outcomes: The church continued providing an interpreter throughout the fall to December. This church is ripe to begin an interpreting ministry which will be a blessing for an additional Deaf ministry in the Western Jurisdiction.