“LOOK, YOUR NAMES ARE ON MY HANDS!
This year’s Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf will feature Emmanuel Deaf Ministry, a Brazilian church that is one of the largest Deaf Methodist churches in the world, in an event that will be a United Nations of sign languages of the world.
This year, participants –Deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, and hearing – will spread the word of Methodist and Wesleyan-related mission work through the sign languages of Korea, Brazil (Libras), Ghana, Zimbabwe (Zim Sign), Kenya (KSL) and the United States (ASL).
Michelle Menefee, conference interpreter coordinator, says it will be “a sign language version of the Pentecost!”
Ronlison Lopes, pastor of the 130-member church based at Central Methodist Church in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, will “contribute what the Lord has given me as privilege of doing for His kingdom” in missionary work and fulfilling the vision of Methodist churches.
Emmanuel’s dance and drama team will also share the Gospel through Deaf eyes and experience at the four-day conference, August 1-4, 2017, at the Lakeview Camp and Retreat Center in Waxahachie, Texas.
The Alzheimer’s Association, in a unique presentation on memory care, will build on the conference’s theme of God not forgetting the deaf: “Look, your names are on my hands” (Isaiah 49:16).
Other presenters include:
Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Philadelphia area, who specialized in Deaf ministry and initiated the first conference in 2005. She will give the keynote sermon.
The Rev. Caesar Rentie, vice president of Pastoral Care for Methodist Hospital of Dallas, a former NFL Chicago Bears player who grew up with deaf parents.
Sarah Houge and Amy Wilson of the Mill Neck Foundation, which promotes Deaf outreach.
Delegates will make presentations on work in their countries.
In addition to Bishop Johnson leading the opening service, the Rev. Joo Kang of the Korean Presbyterian Deaf Church will provide devotionals. Also, God’s Hands Deaf ministry of Dallas Indian UMC and Comanche Thunder, a Native American drum group, will be part of the opening service.
The conference also includes an optional 10-hour course on Deaf Certified Lay Servant ministry.
The global conference is held every four years. It began in 2005, when Bishop Johnson, then with Christ Church of the Deaf in Baltimore, invited colleagues in Deaf ministries around the world to gather for worship and sharing of Deaf mission work. That year featured the Deaf mission work of the Korean Methodist Church, with Rev. Sang-Suck Nam of the Seoul Church of the Deaf the lead presenter.
“The Koreans had 13 Deaf churches, each with Deaf pastors and sending Deaf missionaries — some to countries where the Christian faith is discouraged and even persecuted,” Bishop Johnson said. “It was my hope that starting an international conference would give us a Holy Spirit jolt to be evangelists for Christ’s love among the Deaf around the world and in the USA.”
The second conference took place in 2009 in South Korea and the third in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013. These conferences highlighted Deaf mission and ministries in Vietnam, Mongolia, China, Singapore, The Philippines, Guam, Japan, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Liberia, Ghana, Kenya and the United Kingdom.
This year’s conference marks the first time that a South American ministry has participated.
This conference is hosted by the Deaf Ministry of Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas, the World Federation of Deaf Methodists, The United Methodist Congress of the Deaf and sponsored by the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and the Mill Neck Foundation of New York.
Christians of all churches and denominations are welcome. A video of the 3rd Global conference in Nairobi can be found at https://www.umcd.org/wfdm/video.html.
To find more information and to register on-line, go to http://llumc.org/4gmd . Registration is $350. You may also contact the conference host pastor, Rev. Tom Hudspeth at firstname.lastname@example.org, 214-706-9522 (voice) or 469-533-2974 (videophone).