Pastor Steve: (Children’s Pastor/Tech Director – introductory remarks Children’s Ministry Vision:
“Safe place to find faith, friends, and your future.”
Scriptural Truths (associated verses in the hallway):
Goal of the children’s ministry:
Partner with parents and engage children in their journey of faith.
As we have seen with our general congregation growth, our Deaf ministry has grown, and now we are privileged to see Deaf children in attendance as well!
The current set up is to have a “team leader” in each classroom, and now Cassandra is taking the lead within the children’s ministry to address the classroom accommodations of the Deaf/HH children.
Introduction (Attended Calvary for quite some time, Wife of Michael, mother of their 4 boys (ages 4, 3, 2, and 4 mos.) Interpreting background, willingness to serve in children’s ministry (have experience volunteering in the past), opportunity to serve now- an answer to prayer.)
Pastor Bob Reeves
Pastor Steve Otto
Michael and Cassandra Weingart Don and Jeanne Wells
Jim and Julie Salmon
Jennifer and Brian Cornwell (and family) Mandy Weiler
Floor opened for feedback, opinions, experience and ideas…
- ASL is a cherished part of Deaf culture and the desired method of communication with staff and volunteers. (While it is not expected that staff and volunteers will take ASL classes and learn the language in its entirety, it would be nice if some basic signs were learned and used. Deaf/HH children see ASL as a welcoming element in children’s ministry. With language, all modes of communication should be welcomed and supported.)
- Proposal to (Brenda willing to teach) offer a beginner ASL class for staff, volunteers, and any children that would like to attend. (This gives a positive exposure to the hearing community, and helps bridge the communication gap within the children’s ministry.)
- The children’s lessons could be interpreted into ASL, ABC stories could be shared, and songs signed in a rhythm that is preferred by the Deaf community could be shared in the classrooms. (This exposes the hearing children to the language and culture, they may find these teaching experiences to be engaging and the Deaf/HH children can be inspired in a way that is more applicable to their leaning style.)
- Language emphasis is important, but cultural awareness is also desired. (i.e. Jonathan Sigmon signed GOOD MORNING, that was very appreciated. Learning the proper way to get a Deaf/HH child’s attention.)
- Desire to dispel the misconception that the Deaf community is simply attending- the Deaf community is happy to serve, we have gifts and talents, we are looking forward to being involved.
- Deaf/HH role models are vital in a Deaf/HH child’s world. (Deaf community involvement is encouraged in children’s ministry. Majority of meeting participants raised their hands when asked who was willing to serve.)
- Deaf friendly environment is more visual in nature.
- Many have shared experiences growing up in and around church activities, and feeling
isolated/left out. The language barrier, and the other children being unwilling/unaware of
how to bridge the gap left room for the Gospel to go unexplained or less than clear.
- Christ and His message of salvation should be accessible to all! Children need to be
exposed to the Gospel from a young age.
- Deaf or hearing- Communication is key!
- Rochester is home to a very large Deaf community, many are searching for a church home
that is Deaf friendly. This may be a good time to put information on our church website indicating the language access through interpreted messages, and equal access in children’s ministry for Deaf/HH children.
- It is important to normalize the role of the interpreter in the classroom. The hearing children may have little to no previous exposure, and may need to be encouraged to include the Deaf/HH children.
- Interpreters are encouraged to read the curriculum lesson beforehand, so that they can make the interpretation age appropriate and applicable to the child(ren).
- If there is a new family in attendance, and their Deaf/HH child(ren) attend children’s programs- it’s important to follow up with the parents, and ask for any feedback.
- The Deaf/HH children who have attended the children’s programs have opted to remain together in class (despite their age gap). We will continue with that plan until/unless there is a desired change.
- Proposal to change the program from a mainstreamed program to separate classrooms for Deaf/HH children as the church grows. (Most seemed to be in favor of continuing as is.)
- Noted request that parents should inform the children’s ministry if they would be attending in order to properly prepare and provide additional classroom access services.
- Calvary Assembly has protocol regarding the safety and security of the children’s ministry. Volunteers that serve in children’s ministry must meet the following criteria:
o Attend the past consecutive 6 months
o Pass a background check
o Submit application with attached references
- The existing (recorded) training is in spoken English. In the future, captioning will be added, and for language preference (with an interpreter volunteer) an ASL interpretation will be added as well.
- The 11:00 am. interpreted service time does not seem to fit every family’s needs. It was discussed that there is an interpreter currently at the 9:30 service but that is solely to meet the needs of the Weingart family.
Cassandra offered thanks to everyone for attending and participating with input. Pastor Bob closed in prayer.