Missouri’s data portal has an estimated 600,000 residents who are deaf or hard of hearing.
A Jefferson City church is helping reach that unserved population through the art of sign language. If you are interested in learning, Pastor Randy Dignan at Bible Baptist Church wants to teach you through an online private Facebook group classes.
“Today, people are more busy, so we have a lot more online opportunities,” said Dignan. “I actually teach free sign language phrases on my YouTube channel and on my Facebook page and Instagram, but I’m actually launching the Art of ASL, where it’ll be courses that you’ll be able to take on a more in-depth (basis). I mean everything’s going online anyway nowadays.”
Dignan, who is a CODA, or a child of deaf adults, is a certified licensed interpreter in the state of Missouri. His church also has a prominent deaf ministry.
“Deaf people, as a whole, 90% of deaf people are born into hearing homes and hearing families,” Dignan said. “My family is in a very unique category. We’re a part of the 10% where the deaf had the deaf. Most deaf people are born in hearing homes because of an illness. So, the baby’s automatically behind the 8-ball, and that includes church services. These families are going to church and many churches in America don’t realize the need for an interpreter.”
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