News from the
United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries,
a unit of the General Board of Global Ministries

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Greetings in Christ, and welcome to our September newsletter. Our main feature is the move of Lovers Lane Deaf Ministry, and we have other news about Deaf camps and events.

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Lovers Lane Deaf Ministries altar a cross banner and I Love You sculpture
Lovers Lane Deaf Ministry stage with the altar
Lovers Lane Deaf Ministry space a large room with stage
Lovers Lane Deaf worship with leaders and banners
Tom Hudspeth preaching with background picture of Stephen
Lovers Lane Deaf worship offering
Lovers Lane Deaf Ministry moves to new location

by Rev. Dr. Thomas H. Hudspeth

On July 1, 2020, after 18 months of discussions, an unique adoption-merger agreement went into effect between Lovers Lane United Methodist Church and Walnut Hill United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Approximately 3.5 miles apart, the two churches combined to share resources, mission, and staffing. 

Senior Pastor Dr. Stan Copeland assigned the pastoral care of Walnut Hill Church to Rev. Dr. Tom Hudspeth, who is also the pastor for the Deaf Ministry of Lovers Lane. Also, Dr. Copeland invited Tom and the Deaf ministry to establish a new, global Deaf worship home at Walnut Hill Church. Worship space would be three times larger than at Lovers Lane, and provide a location to continue livestream worship that had begun on March 22, 2020, in response to the pandemic.

Beginning in January 2021, the teaching pastor of Walnut Hill, Rev. Andy Nelms and Rev. Tom Hudspeth met with Deaf Lay Servants and ministry leaders for a series of four vision-casting sessions, to identify and match the Deaf ministry’s gifts and mission with the communities intended to serve. Meanwhile, Lovers Lane helped Walnut Hill to upgrade its internet services, as well as repair wall and floor damages from 10,000 gallons of water that had been unleashed in February’s ice-storm-shattered water pipes. The church was also repairing damage from an October 2019 tornado that had toppled its steeple, knocked out windows, torn off roof shingles and damaged the stained-glass windows in the sanctuary. By mid-July 2021 most of the repairs and upgrades were completed.

On August 15, 2021, the Deaf ministry re-launched its worship at Walnut Hill Church, with in-person and livestream services. The large space allows in-person worship to observe COVID-10 protocols of social distancing. In the three weeks since the move, viewers have participated in our live-stream worship from Thailand, India, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, California and Texas. 

In another example of sharing resources, Walnut Hill’s Creative School provided a scholarship to a preschool child of a Deaf couple. In turn, the Deaf ministry will provide interpreter support for the family in parent-teacher conferences and other pre-school events.

Costs for these improvements have been covered by insurance claims, contributions to the Deaf ministry, and designated funding for lighting and audio-visual equipment in the new multi-purpose worship space. The challenges for the Deaf ministry will be to follow through on its mission to reach out to Deaf families, those living in social isolation, and provide on-line worship and inspiration for Deaf and friends of Deaf around the world.   
Zoom screen of Interpreters Academy
Emmanuel UMC, Laurel MD will host a Bible study based on Deborah Meyer Abbs, Belonging: Accessibility, Inclusion, and Christian Community. Closed captioning will be available and ASL will be provided on request. Register for the event on Zoom.

On July 17, 2021, DHM, in cooperation with Bethel AME and Emmanuel UMC (Laurel) offered a Church Interpreting Academy with several tracks. Visit the UMCD website to read the report.
In memory
Sheila Frances Finn, a longtime member of the United Methodist Congress of the Deaf, died on August 22, 2021 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Read obituary and remembrances.
group of campers from 2021
Deaf Camps:
a report and more photos from two summer Deaf camps: read the article

Are you following our Facebook page? We post stories from churches about Deaf and Hard-of-hearing ministry, notices about upcoming events (and reports after the events), stories about Deaf and Hard-of-hearing people, notices about scholarships, news about products, tips and general advice about hearing aids, safety, and similar items. Check us out at
Many are unaware that Deaf and Hard-of-hearing people enjoy music, much as they can do other life activities. Leo Yates jr. wrote an article for the blog about sharing this gift: read Deaf People Sharing their Spiritual Gifts of Music.

In the last issue, we identified Roy M. White as a member of Emmanuel United Methodist Church, Laurel MD. He is a member of Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Beltsville MD.
Celebrating the ministry of Bishop Johnson and Carol Stevens

As we reported in the last issue, Bishop Peggy Johnson has moved to "vocational retirement" and a celebration was held for her ministry, as well as that of Carol Stevens, at Christ Deaf UMC on August 1, 2021.