September 15, 2018 “Hands in Ministry” at McGee Chapel Missionary Baptist Church presented their 10th Deaf Awareness Day. The purpose of Deaf Awareness Day is to increase awareness of deaf issues, people, and culture. Activities and events throughout Deaf Awareness Day are meant to encourage individuals to come together as a community to understand that being deaf or hard of hearing is not a handicap or disability. The event’s purpose was to show we are all capable and intelligent individuals that have multiple ways in which we communicate with each other.
Coordinated Vernita Jones, who has recently been acknowledged by Mayor Sylvester Turner for her work with the deaf community in the City of Houston, the event gathers a diverse crowd with artist and performers from all backgrounds. Vernita herself preformed several songs with various groups including a duo with her daughter Charnita Bynum and a quartet with daughter and grandsons Prince and Dylan Bynum and directed “Hands in Ministry” with several selections. “Sign Language has allowed me to appreciate the significance of communication access and providing a service to the Deaf community that I plan to provide as an interpreter in the future,”. “When churches make the effort to include Deaf people and their families, they also begin to better recognize others who are experiencing a loss of hearing in their current community old and young”. “Without these services members miss out what is being communicated, and slowly drift away from church altogether. Many older members are experiencing loss of family members and others who would normally communicate with them and the church is a great place find a surrogate family that openly embraces deaf culture”.
The event has been growing steadily in its 10 years and gathered participants from seven different churches around the Houston area and multiple hearing and deaf performers from all over the state. The performances selections varied from country songs and rap trap gospel, to traditional hymns and dramatic readings while signing of Christian poetry. The large room at Mc Gee Chapel quickly filled by the start of the event with the crowd able to watch the hands of the performers from the large screen above making every seat a good seat.
Faith Humphrey, the president of Hands in Ministry emotionally opened with “Deaf people are too often overlooked and or marginalized, not only as Christians but as decent humans this cannot be the way.” “Often in churches we tend to be forgotten because we’re a small number, but here at McGee Chapel, I do feel included. Events like this help to show the deaf community there is a place for us.”
Krystal Lux, who came with The Fort Bend Church closed with “The scriptures are many that speak to hospitality, my favorite being Romans 12:13, which reads, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
For more information about Deaf Worship Services or future events contact the church at 281-493-1884
By Jerome Hurt