I had the wonderful privilege earlier this week to talk with Cindy Dively, a deaf worship leader/pastor. It was the first time I've used a relay service to talk to someone, which is an operator service that lets people who are deaf call someone through either a keyboard or video device. To be honest, I thought it was a little weird to have someone mediate for first conversation, but I couldn't have done it without this service.
Here are a few lessons I learned from my new friend:
1. Drums are used to help keep rhythm by feeling the beat...literally.
2. Songs translated from English to ASL convey the meaning of the song versus a word for word translation...in some cases.
3. On a typical Sunday there is only one person up front to lead worship. During special occasions like Christmas or Easter they will have a choir.
4. The deaf worship leader tells the PowerPoint person when to go to the next slide.
5. Deaf worship leaders incorporate poems, as well as songs during the worship service.
6. People from the congregation will raise their hands and sign the words amen
when appropriate. In a hearing church we'd probably hear people shout it out during the sermon.
7. PowerPoint is being used by the deaf community. At Cindy's church you will typically see the English and the ASL on the PowerPoint.
I hope this gives you a little insight into how the deaf community worships. My time with Cindy was certainly a learning experience. I am at the beginning stages of learning about the deaf community, so I don't claim to have great knowledge about ASL or the deaf community.
Does your church have a deaf ministry? Are you deaf? How does your church worship? What are some things hearing people should be aware of?
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