Pentecostal deaf churches

The Deaf Ministry of the First Pentecostal Church is a multi-faceted ministry. One of the primary purposes is to provide in site interpretation in American Sign Language (ASL) of all church services. The church is also equipped with wireless assisted hearing devices for the hearing impaired through the soundboard. ASL hearing interpreters permit the deaf to hear and participate in all phases of every service. Training in ASL is provided to aspiring interpreters from First Pentecostal Church as well as being open to churches throughout our area regardless of denomination. In effect, this is a special outreach program serving those who wish to minister to the deaf in their own language. Deaf churches have thrived in the Twin Cities because of the unusually large number of deaf people who are drawn here from all over Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Human Services estimates that 500,000 Minnesotans, or about 10 percent of the state's population, has some degree of hearing loss. About 67,600 of those would be considered deaf, said Marie Koehler, regional manager of the state's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services.

Other services provided by the deaf church

A group of religious and civic leaders is seeking public support for a long-stalled memorial in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo honoring the African American preacher who a century ago launched a multiracial mission there that grew into the worldwide Pentecostal movement. The project has been bogged down for nearly 10 years in part because the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center has refused to allow a mural on a wall it owns on the Azusa Street site where the Rev. William J. Seymour's church once stood. In addition, some local clergy are concerned about Pentecostal churches' conservative stances on religious and social issues.

More of the project

Hoping to capitalize on the current Black History Month, proponents said the "Azusa Street Spirit Walk" would be a spiritual destination for Pentecostals from around the world and help boost Little Tokyo's sagging economy. The project, estimated to cost $250,000, would consist of an outdoor promenade and a mural depicting the histories of the church and of the diverse neighborhood where immigrants and nonwhites lived in the early 20th century. The area is now a trash-littered alley near 2nd and San Pedro streets facing the backs of businesses. Though few people outside Pentecostalism know of him, Seymour was a son of slaves whose around-the-clock religious revivals drew thousands to the Azusa Street Mission and made him a revered figure.

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© 2006