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Minutes of Meetings

July 25-26, 2018, Las Vegas NV

Wednesday July 25

1. UMCD officers will met jointly with UM-DHM members for a mission/vision discussion regarding the role of UMCD and DHM facilitated by Kirk VanGilder.
We had a general brainstorming session in three groups looking at two questions:
  • 1. What is the purpose of UMCD?
  • 2.How does it relate to DHM? Should the goals be similar, different, complementary?

A thematic pattern from all three break out groups seemed to emerge that envisions the following relationship:
The United Methodist Church
UM-DHM (as a committee of the church under GBGM)
UMCD (as a community-based organization that connects the communities of Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late Deafened, and Deaf Blind people to the church)
The World (communities of people whether they be in churches or not)

Notes from group conversations:

  • Empower CLM/CLS trained people (who feel called to do this sort of work) to develop and run workshops on GBGM's healthy living goals (mind, body, and spirit). Then offer those as workshops. This could be come workshops for UMCD jurisdictional and national meetings and/or community workshops that partner with independent living centers, churches, and other deaf community hubs to broaden UMCD's connection with communities and churches.
  • UMCD jurisdictions can take turns hosting workshops at meetings. NEJ and SCJ are the strongest right now with SEJ emerging and WJ. NCJ is still not re-established.
  • Aging and dwindling leadership and membership in UMCD means we need to figure out how to empower young people to do things within our organization.
  • Discover and use young people's ways of connecting, organizing, and engaging the world.
  • DHM works from the top down (doesn't directly aid local churches beyond grants) while UMCD works from the bottom up (member driven organization).
  • DHM can assist UMCD with information about churches requesting grants, information, etc. as well as spread information about new ministries.
  • UMCD meetings are about connecting people.
  • UMCD is needed through uncertain times with the larger church structure.
  • DHM is a resource provider while UMCD is a grassroots organization fostering cooperation between churches and promoting deaf ministries.

Challenges for UMCD.

  • A lack of having many deaf leaders, it cannot rely on only the few we have now.
  • Lack of sharing ideas and resources and connecting different deaf ministries at different churches.
  • Creating resources and leaders for deaf ministry
  • Confusion between Late Deafened/HoH needs and Deaf/Deaf Blind needs.
  • There's a perceived disconnect between UMCD and DHM and what the connection should be is unclear.
  • DHM is a grantor of funds, not a group to address the day to day needs of local churches.
  • UMCD should be providing help to develop Deaf and HoH ministries
  • UMCD should be facilitating unique needs of different people separately. (i.e. HoH/LD: Keeping people in church, networking and social connections; Deaf/DB: community, culture, and leadership.)
  • UMCD's purpose (as a caucus) is to develop church rules and legislation that address the need of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and protect their interests.
  • UMCD Jurisdictional meetings should foster connectionalism between ministries.
  • UMCD should be a platform for Deaf stakeholders
  • UMCD should be an advocacy group to promote and encourage ministries.
  • UMCD should disseminate information and resources on website
  • Better reporting is needed between DHM and UMCD. Perhaps ex-officio representatives on each others' boards.

Thursday July 26

1. Minutes from April 9, 2018 board meeting approved.
2. Treasurer's report received and approved with one amendment to clarify that the funding from UMCOR is a UM-DHM funded grant. (The check was labeled UMCOR).
3. Membership encouragement and engagement. Program goals and “what is needed to make them work” were discussed as a whole from our previous day's brainstorming session. The framing question was, “Is God calling you to UMCD involvement? How? For what?”
  • Develop Deaf ministry profiles, so we know more about what is going on at different places (and can connect them with similar ministries), possibly with Facebook groups or other means.
  • Needs people who can develop a profile checklist or a way of gathering info.
  • UMCD as follow-up group for grant recipients from DHM. Invite them to a relationship with other deaf ministries in the church.
  • Needs people who are skilled with Facebook groups, moderating, willing to reach out, etc.
  • Methods for establishing deaf ministries, (LD, HOH, DB etc.). that we can give as models. Include worship, church life, but also mission outreach, human needs where people are (i.e food bank etc.)
  • Needs someone to research, catalog and organize different approaches. Add to website as a resource.
  • We need NEW approaches and communications, effort, willingness to work. Plans are only plans! We need more people involved in more things.
  • Needs everyone to consider their gifts and calling and a way to plug people into goals. Needs sustained communication between meetings to keep people involved and connected. Accountability with support.
  • Face to face? Zoom? (train UMCD members on Zoom)
  • UMCD's survival relies on a commitment to connect with one another.
  • Needs everyone! Find a place to “plug in” with whatever you can do no matter how small.
  • Deaf/ASL &ldqup;prayer line” or “coaching line” for deaf ministries. Or a contact team that reaches out by a note, email, etc. to deaf ministries to ask “how are things going?”
  • Needs training for how to manage situations. Clear communication on its purpose.
  • “Investigative team” to identify deaf ministries out there to contact. In addition to DHM's list, a team of people to contact District Superintendents to encourage them to keep an eye out for churches at charge conferences that have deaf/hoh/LD/DB ministry or inclusion going on and report to UMCD for follow up. Use find-a-church at Umc.org. conference journals etc.
  • Needs people who are comfortable contacting DS's, etc. Lost sheep finders! A follow up team to inventory what's going on at a church and maintain contact.

Actions taken at the end of this brainstorming:
  • 1. Carol Stevens volunteered to organize the “Lost Sheep Finders” group to do investigative work discover where our ministries are and what they're doing. A sign up sheet was passed around and emphasis was made that this is not to be “Carol's job” but the job of everyone involved.
  • 2. A quick Zoom training was demonstrated to those present and a decision to add instructions on using Zoom.com video conferencing to the website.
  • 4. A discussion on Certified Lay Servant (CLS) training program and the development of Certified Lay Ministers (CLM)
    When and where would we like to have this training?
    Tom suggests Jurisdictions are free to decide whether to include CLS training at their Jurisdictional meetings. Jurisdictional planners can be in touch with our CLS teaching teams, Carol Stevens and Karen Miller are where to start.
    CLM development as a next step for this program. Carol Stevens: CLM development is a more complicated than CLS. With CLS you simply sign up and come for training. It improves your self esteem, understanding of God, skills in ministry service. Basic and Advanced classes. Every two years you should redo a class to keep your certification active.
    CLM requires doing more in support of ministry. It is for when you're experiencing a call to ministry of some sort, but perhaps not ordained ministry. You may work for a church's specific ministry, teaching, visitation, community worship, bible study groups, etc. It is supervised by someone, i.e. another minister or another CLM. So that needs to be set up before taking a CLM class. (Basic and Advanced CLS are prerequisites). Those interested in CLM need the support of their pastor and SPRC (Staff Parish Relations Committee) in their church to begin the CLM path. This will also involve a discernment process to inquire about your calling and help define it. A recommendation from the District Superintendent will also be needed. There is a district committee on ministry (and in some conferences the conference committee) that will interview a CLM candidate to ask about their calling and goals. So if you've completed the CLS program, pray and talk with Carol and others about what your calling is. If you complete the CLM process, you are interviewed every two years by the district committee to keep your certification current. You'll need to report on what you've done in response to your calling and what you've done in your ministry each year for your local church Charge Conference.
    Question: are CLM's volunteer or paid? There's no requirement from the Discipline that CLMs are paid. It will be a matter of the church where they work. Most of the time a CLM isn't paid, unless they are hired as a staff person at their church for that ministry.
    Therefore, some groundwork needs to be done by people to determine if they're called to CLM or not before we write up a Deaf CLM class and offer it.
    Karen Miller completed this process with hearing classes (interpreted). She mentions it's a rigorous program in some ways, like “going back to school.” She had 8 hour workshops on 4 Sundays. (Question: does that mean we can't have it all in one week? No. it's 40 hours of training, it can be structured however we need.)
    Some conferences require Continuing Education Units (CEUs). These are like workshops or other classes to expand and update your knowledge and skills.
    Carol is willing to work with you and your conference if you're interested in CLM, but pray and talk about it to be sure God is calling you.
    Question: Can CLMs carry communion to the sick? Only ordained minsters can do the actual blessing service. CLMs can assist. They can also take already blessed bread and cup to sick and house bound people and have a small prayer service to share those.

    Questions for a way forward to a Deaf CLM class:

    • 1. A one week structure (a full week) where everyone meets for this class. The 40 hours can be spread over the week.
    • 2. When? And how many are needed to create the Deaf class? That's a more complicated question that will take some people time to think through their calling and get the needed approvals. Possibly…this coming Spring or next Summer, BUT people need to start working through their calling and the process, and we don't know how long that may take people.
    • 3. Cost for the Course? Flight to wherever we set it up will be the largest cost.

    MOTION: (Tom) UMCD and DHM will form a joint committee on CLS/CLM training to oversee and guide the process of offering these courses and assisting people with the process. Bryan seconds. Motion passes. [This motion goes to the UMCD executive officers to be in conversation with the DHM executive officers regarding the size and membership].
    Michelle suggests we think about who might feel called to be a 'backup and support' for Carol Stevens as she guides this process as well. This committee can also identify teachers for these classes. Tom Hudspeth and Karen Miller volunteer to be on the committee.

  • 5. Mission trips and UMCD engagement. While UMCD members have been involved in mission trips, and they've been announced on the UMCD website, they've not really been a UMCD action. Rather they've been sponsored by groups affiliated with various UMC Deaf ministries. Recent trips have seen less deaf participation. Costs, scheduling, length of time, etc. have been barriers.
    How might we use mission trips that various UMC Deaf ministry teams are doing to engage UMCD members better? How might we use UMCD for fundraising to support deaf participants on these trips?
    Karen Miller suggests it is better to grow our organization through relationships built on mission trip experiences.
    Tom H. proposed that we support scholarships for Deaf adults and youth as we work on mission trips.
    Cindy Camp offers to donate the $420 spent to support closed captioning for this conference to start a mission scholarship fund.
    MOTION: Tom moves that UMCD agree to have one common mission trip (at Red Bird, KY) at a date to be determined in 2019. And that $420 be used for youth scholarships. Mary Ann Deters seconds.
    Carol Stevens will contact Patti Ravilious in Delaware, a retired UMC minister who has gone to Red Bird numerous times and is interested in a deaf trip there. (her husband is deaf). Linda Ford's church goes to Red Bird often as well. MOTION PASSES
  • 6. UMCD Endowment. This fund was established to support large projects and/or scholarships. There was discussion at past meetings about using some of this money to adapt a forthcoming UMC hymnal revision into ASL. Unlike the past ASL hymnal in printed English gloss, we were envisioning a video project. Michelle Menefee was in discussion with some people at UMCommunications about this. The hope here is to use the Endowment to not only create a support for Deaf ministries, but also generate income as the previous ASL Hymnal project did.
    The new hymnal project is currently on hold until the UMC general conferences in 2019 and 2020 are held to see what happens. When that committee reconvenes, Michelle Menefee will be in contact again.
    Discussion regarding whether scholarship support for CLM candidates might be an appropriate use for this funding. Although CLM may or may not lead to ordained ministry, it does lead to a formally recognized and supervised form of ministry service in the UMC. This would be a matter for the Endowment board to decide. Treasurer needs to research who is named to the Endowment Board. We need to make sure we have staggered 'classes' of members to rotate people on and off. And we need to place that information on the website.
    Motion from Linda Ford: (second from Michelle Menefee) Add a statement to the website that treasurers reports are available to members, contact the treasurer. PASSED
  • 7. World Federation of Deaf Methodists update. Report on the 4th Global Deaf Methodist Conference and news from our partners in Brazil. (Tom Hudspeth)
    How can we assist with funding for this Conference? A large amount of UM-DHM funding may not be available this time around. Can UMCD be a fundraising arm for identifying sponsors? i.e. various Deaf and/or Methodist related businesses and organizations?
    How can we encourage and enable US people to go? It would be nice to see a good sized delegation be able to go down there.
    Tom Hudspeth wowed us with beautiful pictures of the Methodist retreat camp in Brazil. He proposes that we plan to fly into Belo Horizonte (a large city where Rev. Ronnie has a Deaf ministry and church) and do mission work in the city. Then we will go to the retreat center in Teresopolis for the conference. Then on to Rio de Janeiro for some sight seeing and fly home from there.
    Exact details are yet to be worked out. Rev. Ronnie is responding to God's calling in his life and may be relocating to the US. So we're waiting and praying.
    UMCD member churches and ministries should be planning fundraisers. A portion can be set aside for members of that ministry or church to go to the conference and a portion can be sent to UMCD for a special fund line in the account for supporting getting the meeting set up itself. DHM may not have access to much funding for this.
  • 8. Supporting Deaf ministry in Ghana. Collins Prempeh is a young man many of us met last year at the Global conference. He is now an evangelist with the Methodist Church in Ghana. He is interested in getting further training through a two year program at Deaf Missions in Iowa. Tom has been working with him and investigating visa options (which is a complicated matter). Should the visa issues be worked out, the program is a 2 year program which would cost $20,000. Lovers Lane UMC in Dallas seems willing to fund up to $10,000 if other churches would match the other half. Could we use the UMCD network to host fundraisers at various churches to meet LLUMC's challenge?
    MOTION: UMCD Executive board will facilitate fundraising from member churches for $10,000 to match Lovers Lane UMC's pledge to support Collins. (either as a monthly commitment or a single gift)
    Everyone should go back to their local churches and talk about the exciting things in deaf ministry around the world including Ghana (The appeal letter and pictures we can make available to you). When people feel a connection to deaf ministry, they give. PASSES
  • 9. Offering during closing worship will be split in half. To what ministry or purpose do we want our half to go toward?
    Ideas: Gift to ELDA in gratitude for handling the site location planning and registration the past 6 years.
    Scholarship line for youth support to Red Bird mission begun with Cindy's gift yesterday.
    We hold enough to cover any outstanding expenses for the meeting, then give the rest to ELDA for their global mission work.
    MOTION: Carol Stevens (second Mary Ann Deters) Our offering be given to ELDA with our hope that it can be used for global missions in gratitude for their support the past 6 years in organizing the ELM meetings.
    Linda Ford reminds us that last time all of it went to Kenya ministries so it's a good 'repay' it forward. PASSES
  • 10. Rev. Samuel Gnanarajah from Sri Lanka has been growing the deaf ministry there since attending the past few Global Conferences. He is keen to have a mission team visit from the US to energize and raise the profile of his work there. Do any of our member churches/ministries feel called to organize a mission trip there?
    Tom H. shares greetings from Rev. Gnanarajah. Sri Lanka is an island south of India. Next month the Bishop will be accepting deaf ministry members into church membership (praise God!). Guidance, support, and training is needed for Deaf leadership in ministry. Pray for the Sri Lanka ministry.
    Kirk and Mary Ann suggest the possibly of video conferencing (like Zoom) as a possible way to reach out if we can't do an in person visit. Zoom might be a way to effectively keep in contact until a time we can identify and support people to go. We should also respond that we are excited that deaf are becoming members and praise God for the growth of their ministry.
    Kirk: We should seek to find ways for training and support those who contact us from around the globe.
    Carol: and them training us!
  • 11. Officer elections.
    A review of the ballot was shown with the opportunity to write in. Members present voted by paper ballot and absentee ballots were added in.
    19 votes For Billy Deters (elected President)
    1 vote for Kirk VanGilder
    1 for Mary Ann Deters
    2 unclear votes
    21 for Sandi Johnson (elected secretary for a second term)
    1 vote for Mary Harris
    1 vote for Melinda Powell
      Treasurer motion:
    21 yes (Linda Ford will continue as Treasurer until 2020 and be ineligible thereafter)
    2 no
  • 12. MOTION 2020 UMCD/ELDA ELM meeting hosted by UMCD be held in Orlando, Florida aiming for the third week in July (19-26). Motion passes.