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Amazing Grace Deaf Ministry

Minister Barbara Karcz

Signing Classes
curriculum from ASL University

 

The country singing group Alabama recorded a song that starts out with the voice of an old man saying, �See that mountain over there? Someday I�m going to climb that mountain.�

I always wanted to learn sign language but it was like that song, �Someday I�ll study sign language.� In 1993 a friend of mine gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and a few months later they found out that he was deaf.  It was a very difficult time for the whole family but especially for my friend as she was Mom... They had to learn to raise a deaf child and the obstacles seemed insurmountable at that time. She started looking for sign language classes and I decided to go with her for support. Doing something with someone else always makes things easier. I found an amazing teacher and began to really absorb the language. My friend�s needs were different than mine; hers were much more extensive, but my love for the language grew steadily.

At first I learned pidgin Signed English. It is composed of signs and gestures but with English sentence structure. After realizing most deaf spoke a different language I began to look for American Sign Language teachers and found one through the Chicago Hearing Society.

American Sign Language-A.S.L.-is a beautiful and expressive language composed of signs, gestures and expressions. It has a definite structure and can be taught as a way to communicate with the deaf and hard of hearing.

My friend and her son attended Amazing Grace. We wanted to teach our children�s teachers the language so that we could teach her son. We also wanted to make every part of the service available to him through sign language. This was a great adventure. It has been with difficulty expanding my borders but being a member of  Amazing Grace I can say, �We LOVE a challenge!� Jesus never says no! It is exciting to be able to open our church to the deaf and their families.

Right now we are offering classes to anyone who would like to learn some basic fundamentals of A.S.L. for the purpose of signing Praise and Worship songs and the Word of God. There are classes in progress right now and we will start new classes in January. 

It is also our vision to offer free classes especially to the families and extended families of the deaf to enable them to communicate with their family and friends.

I am so grateful to God because He took the desire of my heart, caused it to come to pass, and then used it to glorify Him. How amazing!  Sign up for Signing Classes  $10 fee for materials

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THE DOINGS NEWSPAPERS                        Thursday October 18, 2001                        IMAGES 57

INSPIRATIONS

Church learns new way 
to minister to its members.

Melissa Warbel
Staff Writer

Inspiration for ministering comes in many forms. Pastor John Doonan and members of the Amazing Grace Community Church congregation in Indian Head Park found inspiration in an 8-year-old boy named Timmy.
   "We had talked about starting (a new) deaf ministry for years before they came," Pastor Doonan said. "But when God brought him to us, we became motivated to do it and do it right."
   Timmy is deaf, an impairment that he and his mother, Lena Marie Parma, have dealt with since he was a baby.
   "It was really difficult at first," Parma said, "There is an inside story to dealing with deafness and (the congregation) has opened their hearts to us."
   Parma was going through other personal difficulties when she first met Barb Karcz years ago.
   "I saw her spirit and how strong it was," Parma said. "I followed her to this church and found my place. They have loved me back to life. " Soon 

after the Parmas joined the church a year and a half ago, Pastor Doonan realized the church needed to expand its ministry to all members of the congregation.
  The congregation quickly responded to the solution of creating a deaf ministry. Before long, many were learning sign language.
  It is quite uplifting that they want to talk with Timmy," Parma said. "He comes alive when people make the effort to communicate with him. The sense that people long to communicate is what means the most to people who are deaf."
   Creating a deaf ministry had been Pastor Doonan's desire for many years. Once it was created, he needed to choose its leader. He and Parma were thrilled Karcz wanted to take on the roll of director.
   "I did not choose her," he said. "God chose her. She has it in her heart to do it and the commitment to see it through."
   Karcz has studied Pigdin Signed English, and  American Sign Language, for three years and was eager to bring her knowledge to the congregation. 

Dianne Doonan teaches Sunday School lesson while April Helminiak signs the lesson as part of Amazing Grace Community Church's deaf ministry
    "Everyone needs to hear the word of God, even through your hands," she said. "If someone seeks the word, they should be able to have it."
   Karcz is assisted in the church by Pastor Doonan's daughters April Helminiak and Heather Belderson. 
  Helminiak, who has taken sign language courses since she was in grade school; signs the Sunday School lesson as the other teacher speaks. "I have always loved sign 
   
 language," Helminiak said. "It is beautiful, descriptive, expressive and dramatic, which comes in handy when teaching children." Parma said she hopes to one day be able to bless the congregation in the same way they have blessed her life and Timmy's. Helminiak feels they already have.
  "We are blessed to have them with us," she said. "Others will be able to learn through them and from them for many years."

Phone 719-569-7398
Fax  708-234-7099

Classes  
in signing available (learn American Sign Language I & II)
classes now in session

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Free Signing Classes pay for book only
special classes signing with music signing too
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All services signed (Sunday am Sunday pm Thursday pm)
Sunday School and Can Do Kids Club signed.

Sign up for Free Signing Classes
4051 Valley Dr
Pueblo, CO 81008
Phone 719-569-7398
Fax  708-234-7099

 

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