Links/News Stories
National Committee
By-Laws Info



       Signs of Change
The United Methodist Congress of the Deaf

Fall 2008 Newsletter



                            Greetings from                                          
                              Dan Kenyon


UMCD President’s Report

 Hello, Everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your summer!

 Rev. Peggy Johnson Elected Bishop

We celebrate Rev. Peggy Johnson's becoming a Bishop. With a strong advocate in the Episcopacy, we hope other UMC Bishops will show more compassion and lend their support to the Deaf, late-deafened, hard-of-hearing and deaf-blind people in their annual conference. Separate articles about her are in this newsletter and on our UMCD website - www.UMCD.org. Hallelujah!

 2009 UMCD Global Conference in Seoul , Korea

I want to share with you about our UMCD planned 2009 trip to Korea . Rev. Joo Kang and I met with Rev. Dae Hwa Park, a hearing UMC pastor in the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Rev. Park is a native of Korea and will be interpreting from Korean to English. One of our interpreters will, of course, interpret in sign language for us.

We will be leaving from various cities in the U.S. on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 and arrive in Seoul, Korea the next day, Thursday, July 30, 2009. We plan to stay at the Lotte Hotel for the nights of July 30 and 31 and August 1, 2009. We will have tours all day on Friday and Saturday, July 31 and August 1 and Sunday morning, August 2, 2009. We will then go outside of Seoul to the Kwanglim Seminar House (where we will stay for 3 nights) for our 2009 UMCD Global Gathering. The conference will begin around 2:00 pm on Sunday afternoon, August 2 and continue until noon, Wednesday, August 5, 2009. After touring some more that afternoon, we plan to stay at the Lotte Hotel (at a different location, but closer to the airport). We will depart for the U.S. on Thursday, August 6, 2009. At this time, details for hotel and transportation arrangements in Seoul are being worked out. You will be informed as soon as plans are finalized.

Tour plans for July 31 and August 1 - We plan to visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace, National Museum of Korean History, National Place Museum of Korea, Cheonggyechean Street (3-mile canal for strolling), Nanta Show, National Folk Museum of Korea, Bazaar Market (where you can negotiate your purchases), Seodaemun Prison History Hall (former concentration camp) and Missionary Cemetary where Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian missionaries were buried).

Tour plans for August 2 - attend church services at Historical Korean Methodist Church (9:00 am) and Seoul Korean Methodist Church of the Deaf (11:00 am).

During our UMCD Global conference, we will visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which is not far from the Kwanglim Seminar House. We will do this on Tuesday, August 4.

Tour plans for August 5 - That afternoon, we will go to the Korea House and Folk Village - a lot of visual (no verbal) entertainment here.

Additional tours may be added later.

Travel arrangements can be made in 3 different ways: 1) through Tzell Travel Agency; 2) through your own travel agency; or 3) on-line, using Internet.                                                                                                                             

People who do not have a credit card may want to reserve their airline tickets through Tzell. Tzell will contact you directly and give you an airfare quote - you decide if you want to accept this quote or not. If you accept, you must immediately send your airfare money to Deaf Interfaith. Deaf Interfaith will then pay Tzell.

With oil prices dropping lately, it is possible that airfare prices may come down. Please check the internet for airfare prices from time to time, and you may decide which airline gives you the better deal. Also, it strongly recommended that you purchase flight insurance for possible cancellations due to illness, etc. And one very important item - be sure to have a (current) passport!

So far, more than 35 people have either registered and paid deposit or are considering going to Korea . It is not too late to sign up. Additonal information is on our registration form. Please go to our UMCD.org website, complete the registration form, make your check payable to Deaf Interfaith, and send your form and deposit to Toby Witt-Dix, our registrar as soon as possible. If you decide you want to purchase your own airline tickets, please email Toby at wittedix@verizon.net, and inform her so that she will know that you are not planning to purchase flight tickets from Tzell Travel Agency.

I'm sure that you don't want to miss this trip!!!

Fund-Raising for Korea Trip

If you need ideas on how to raise money for your trip, fund-raising ideas can be found on our UMCD website www.UMCD.org. It gives you a lot of ideas of raising funds to go to Korea . You CAN raise funds in different ways. So, go to our UMCD.org website and click on index, then click on Links/News Stories, then scroll down and click on " Fun Ways to Fund Raise for Individuals or Groups".


Have You Sign Up with UMCD’s Group Email Service?

We will have discussions on these issues through our UMCD@yahoogroups.com. If you haven’t yet sign up to our UMCD group email, please email your request, along with your email address, to Rev. Rick Springer at umc.deaf.ministry@sbcglobal.net if you wish to be added to this UMCD group email list. Don’t be left out!

You are welcome to join UMCD or renew your membership or to make a donation. Please complete the form at the end of the newsletter and send your dues and/or donations to our treasurer, Rev. Tom Hudspeth. Thank you!

This issue only has news from the NEJ and SCJ. If you have news concerning your church, your annual conference, past events, coming events, pictures, etc., please share them with UMCD members and send your news items to Mary Jane, our UMCD Newsletter editor at dmj730@comcast.net for our next UMCD Newsletter. We want to hear from you!. Thank you.

The Holidays will be coming fast. Please remember to always give thanks for what we have.

Blessings and Peace,

Dan Kenyon


Electing a Bishop   

By Rev. Leo Yates, Jr.

On July 17th, the life of Rev. Dr. Peggy A. Johnson changed forever.  Not only was her life changed, but the life of the denomination changed when the delegates at the Northeastern Jurisdiction Conference in Harrisburg , PA elected Johnson as the new bishop during this Quadrennium. On Friday, July 18th, Johnson was consecrated bishop at Grace United Methodist Church in Harrisburg .

Bishop Johnson was raised in the Baltimore area and graduated from college with a music degree. After teaching music, she felt God calling her to ministry. Johnson attended a seminary in Kentucky where she met her future husband; the two later married.

Johnson’s call to ministry evolved when her life was touched by the language of deaf people. After seeing a deaf choir perform, it ignited her passion to enter into deaf ministry. Her passion was influenced by Rev. Leroy Schauer and other colleagues in deaf ministry. She came to be the pastor at Christ United Methodist Church of the Deaf in 1988. Stepping into the pulpit at a deaf church set the stage and her future in deaf ministry for the next twenty years. Johnson was the pastor at Christ Church from 1988 to 2008. She joins the ranks of other long attending pastors such as Daniel Moylan and Louis Foxwell, Sr.

Her last worship service at Christ Church was on Sunday, August 10th. This was the most attended worship service in a long time. There were even more people than on an Easter Sunday. Johnson preached and celebrated the Holy Communion with the congregation for a long time. Her dedication to the ministry, her hard work to growing the church a handful of people to over 150 people, and most of all, her compassion for marginalized people will always be treasured and remembered.

Bishop Johnson now serves two annual conferences. Literally, on the back door of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Johnson is the Episcopal leader (bishop) of the Peninsula-Delaware and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conferences.

Walking in the Steps of a Bishop
By Mary Jane Kenyon

Christ United Methodist Church of the Deaf ( Christ Church ), Baltimore , MD  is adjusting to the loss of their beloved pastor, Rev. Peggy A. Johnson (now Bishop Peggy A. Johnson). She left to be a bishop in the Episcopal area of eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware . The new pastor of Christ Deaf Church is less known but has his roots in deaf ministry.

At the Northeastern Jurisdiction Conference (NEJ) in Harrisburg , PA , Johnson was elected bishop.  Twelve other official candidates also ran for Bishop.  Bishop Johnson’s life was forever changed as she departed Harrisburg . 

The pastor replacing Bishop Johnson at Christ Church was the associate pastor there.  Rev. Leo Yates, Jr. officially began his appointment to Christ Church on September 1, 2008.  Rev. Yates, whose parents are Deaf, was a member of the Washington UMC of the Deaf in Takoma Park , MD.   Many years later he transferred his membership to Christ Church , Baltimore , MD.   He was the pastor at Magothy United Methodist Church of the Deaf, Pasadena , MD from 2003 to 2006, He was appointed as the associate pastor to Christ Church in 2007. Aside from being a pastor, Rev. Yates is a certified interpreter and has authored a book, “Interpreting At Church.”   

When asked, Yates admits he has some big shoes to fill. “The members of Christ Church have graciously accepted me as their new pastor. When it was announced to them that I was replacing Peggy, their cheer (hands waving) was overwhelming,” said Rev. Yates. 

He expressed, “How does one step into Peggy’s shoes?  By being organized, with humility, by remembering that many are grieving and need this time to adjust, and most importantly, with lots of prayer.” 

His immediate goals: To just be present with the people, to ensure they know that he cares for them and that the church is there for them.  For Rev. Yates, one of his concerns is the continued inclusion of the Deaf group-home people who are made up of mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and/or other adults with personal challenges.  Yates states this is where you will find Christ.

Walking in the steps of a bishop makes it easier, because the road has been traveled. He is following the path that has been made by others who went before him.



By Rev. Joo Kang

I have been working at Gallaudet University as chaplain since the fall of 2006. I was thrilled to have opportunities to meet Gallaudet students who may well be called elites in the deaf community. Needless to say, Gallaudet University has been revered and cherished as the Mecca of the Deaf world because of its character as the only liberal arts university in the world that was established to educate Deaf students. It would be not surprising to see many of them maintain the intensity of their pride in deafness, Deaf Culture and sign language. I believe it is a healthy attitude to maintain a pride in deafness. I once was a victim of inferiority and shameful feeling about deafness when I was young.

I was shocked, however, to learn that there is a tendency among them to regard Jesus Christ as audist who regards hearing preferable to deaf and therefore reject him as anti-deaf. In other words, Jesus Christ was not popular among them. Even some students complained that Jesus should not have cured deafness as found in the chapter 7 of Mark. I heard that there was once a movement at Gallaudet University to remove the word, “Ephphatha!” which is fingerspelled in the official seal. The reason is that they felt the word repugnant because it means, Be opened and it implies that deafness is something to be eliminated.

It is not hard to understand their logic. If we carefully read the narrative of Jesus’ healing of a deaf man as shown in Mark 7, we will immediately construe that “Ephphatha”  has something to do with opening the ears and mouth. It makes sense to interpret the Aramaic word, “Ephphatha” which means Be opened as opening the deaf man’s ears and mouth so that he might be able to hear and speak as hearing people.

I, however, don’t like to take a myopic outlook. There is no subject or object of the word “Ephphatha” to be sure. Jesus did not mention about the object or subject of “Be opened.” He did not say,  “Let the ears and mouth be opened.”  He simply said, “Be opened!” Of course, it would be reasonable to infer that the subject of the word, “Ephphatha” should be the ears and mouth of the deaf man from the context of the narrative of the deaf man’s healing. But again, there is no mention about the subject of, “Be opened!”  What does it mean? It means that we can widen the subject of  “Ephphatha” to more than just ears and mouth. It would be no mistake to conclude that Jesus wanted to open not only the ears and mouth, but also the doors of many opportunities that had been tightly shut to deaf people. He wanted to open educational, vocational, and linguistic opportunities for us. We must thank Jesus for opening great opportunities for us because he has commanded in a firm tone to be opened (Ephphatha) for the sake of the deaf man.

There is much historical evidence that Christianity has been the forerunner of deaf education in the world. It is Christianity that has been actively recognizing the inherent value of deaf people as created in the image of God. It is Christianity that has been very active in spreading the gospel among deaf people. Only Christianity has been proud to produce a large number of deaf clergy. I have not heard of any deaf Buddhist or Muslim clergy members. We should be grateful to have Jesus Christ as our Lord. Certainly, he is the Son of the living God and our Savior. He is the Real Friend to deaf people!

“He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”) (Mark 7:34)


Carol Stevens leaving Christ Church

By Mary Jane Kenyon

Carol Stevens is a member of Christ UMC of the Deaf, Baltimore , MD. She has been involved and worked with the Deaf Ministry for 45 years. She is well-known and established the Deaf Shalom Zone, Inc. in January, 2000. She is Executive Director of the Deaf Shalom Zone. The Deaf Shalom Zone provides services to meet the needs for the Deaf community in the Baltimore area. It also serves Deaf/Blind and Hard of Hearing community with their needs as well. Ms. Stevens is a certified American Sign language interpreter and a therapist. We truly all have been blessed by her faithful mission work for the Deaf, Deaf/Blind, Hard of Hearing and Late-Deafened.

 Several weeks ago, Ms. Stevens announced that she will be leaving Christ UMC of the Deaf on December 31, 2008. She said, "God is calling me to do Deaf Ministry work in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland."

On Saturday, October 11, 2008, we attended the meeting at Christ Church related to the Deaf Shalom Zone. We discussed various issues and ideas to keep the Deaf Shalom Zone going, such as: 1) volunteers for Deaf Shalom Zone, 2) visiting home-bound people, 3) picking up clients and taking them to appointments, 4) collecting food for Deaf Shalom Zone food bank, etc., 5) provide interpreting services, etc.

If you want to contact Carol Stevens, her email address is carolstevens100@hotmail.com

 We will miss her dearly. Please pray for her as God guides her.


SCJ Retreat/Gathering

By Karen Harrell

We had a wonderful retreat and it was held at San Antonio , TX , October 3-5, 2008.  About 40 people attended the retreat.  It was good to see some old faces and new ones. 

The speaker and workshop host was Chad Entinger of Deaf Missions Council Bluff, Iowa , was wonderful.  It was an all day workshop called, “ASL Translations.”  It explained to us the understanding and clarification of the Bible verses.  It helped us understand better.  Names, chapters and verses in the Bible are in the DVD in ASL translation with the New Testament.  Coming soon the Old testament will be in DVD in ASL translation, also.  The ASL Translation Workshop was so awesome! 

 We enjoyed Fiesta dinner and watched young girls dancing in Mexican music.  Also, the next evening we went to Golden Corral and then went to Riverwalk to ride the ferry boat.  We had a blast!

Our next SCJ Gathering will be held in Houston , TX in the fall of 2010.


              Smile, God loves you!

Executive Officers

President: Dan Kenyon

Vice-President: Rev. Joo Kang

Secretary: Pat Lancet

Treasurer:  Rev. Tom Hudspeth


Jurisdiction Presidents

NCJ Vice-President: Rev. Elke Sharma

NEJ President: Darlene Koontz

SCJ President: Karen Harrell

SEJ President: Toni Parrish

WJ President: Candis Shannon

Int’l. Conf. President: Vacant

Committee Chairs

Archives and History - Francine Kenyon

Church Promotion Deaf Ministries - Karen Harrell

Church Promotion of Late-Deafened and Hard of Hearing - Rev. Elke Sharma

Communications Technology - Rev. Rick Springer

Interpreter Committee - Michelle Menefee

Membership Roster - Rev. Bob Vaughn

Youth Ministry - Carmela Kenyon


Other Officers

 Past President: Candis Shannon

Newsletter Editor:  MaryJane Kenyon


UMCD Membership and Endowment Fund

UMCD established the Endowment Fund for the purpose of encouraging local churches to develop new ministries with those who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing,

Late Deafened or Deaf-Blind. Your donation to the Endowment is a sign of support and challenge to United Methodists.  If you did not attend the 2007 UMCD conference and want to renew your membership or if you want to join UMCD, you may use the form below. Please send your tax-deductible UMCD Membership and/or Endowment Fund donation to the address below.  Many thanks!!

Help the Endowment Fund Grow!


UMCD Membership and Donations 

Name: ______________________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________


Telephone: ________________________   Voice/TTY (Circle which applicable)

Email: _________________________________________


$ _________ UMCD Dues ($10.00 per year or $20 for 2 years)

$ _________ Donation to Endowment Fund

$ _________ Donation for _________________

$ _________ Total Enclosed


Make your check payable to UMCD, memo “Membership” and/or “Endowment Fund”

Mail To:

Tom Hudspeth, Treasurer

Lovers Lane UMC

9200 Inwood Rd.

Dallas , Texas 75220

Thank you for supporting the United Methodist Congress of the Deaf.