Adventists to start deaf church in Portmore
The Jamaica Union of Seventh-Day Adventists (JAMU) has announced plans to establish a church for the deaf in Portmore, St Catherine.
The announcement was made during the Day of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing service at the Portmore Adventist Church in Port Henderson last Saturday.
Pastor Adrian Cotterell, Sabbath school and personal ministries director of JAMU, said that plans are well advanced. A space has already been identified at the Portmore Adventist Church, which is an ideal location, according to information from the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD).
"We understand that the largest concentration of the deaf [in Jamaica] is in the Portmore area, and by the grace of God, we're going to have a vibrant church here," said Cotterell.
The pastor said that while planning the Day for the Deaf, he shared the idea for the new church with JAMU President Pastor Everett Brown, who expressed immediate enthusiasm.
START OF SOMETHING GOOD
"This service marks the beginning of something good for our church, something good for the deaf and hard-of-hearing members of our church and the wider community," Brown said during one of two short sermons on the day.
The service was attended by government and NGO representatives, along with several persons with disabilities.
In her address, Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson said that her ministry was seeking to assist the disabled.
"High on the agenda is a number of legislation and policy decisions, some of which will impact positively on the lives of persons with disabilities by ensuring them the rights they are entitled to in order to function as any other citizen. We want them to function with a sense of pride, dignity, and self-worth," she said.
Executive officer at the JAD Dr Iris Soutar said that the work of support, integration, and changing misconceptions about the deaf cannot be accomplished without partner-ships. She expressed gratitude to the Yallahs and Sandy Park Adventist churches for partnering with the JAD in recent times. She welcomed continued collaboration with the Adventist Church.
Speaking in sign language and through an interpreter, deaf pastor and associate director for Sabbath School and Personal Ministries at the Adventist World Church Jeffery Jordan emphasised the need to reach the deaf with the gospel during his sermon.
"Deaf, you are very precious, very special to God ... . Jesus died to save every one of us, and I encourage you - both deaf and hearing - to accept Jesus Christ today," he urged.
The day also included testimonies from deaf persons who have overcome barriers to success, a presentation on deaf culture, and a lesson in sign language.