- BC CONFERENCE OF SDA
- ALBERTA CONFERENCE OF SDA
- ONTARIO & QUEBEC CONFERENCES OF SDA
- GOSPEL OUTREACH (GO)
BC CONFERENCE OF SDA
From about 1989 to 2008, the BC Conference had a Deaf Ministry Department under the direction of Pastor Jim Gaull. Gaull had worked with a small deaf congregation by Andrews University when he was a student at the Seminary, so he still knows some signing and has a heart for the Deaf.
In 1989 Alberta Blake worked with Dr. Clifford Sorenson, and Blake’s started a Mini-Camp Meeting for Deaf at the Hope Conference Camp. The Deaf were given the use of the small auditorium at the West End of the Lodge. This was supplied free and the BC Conference paid for the travel and expenses of a presenter each year during the 17 years before Alberta became sick with Atypical TB. Presenters included pretty well all the USA leaders of the Deaf during that time, with some repeated several times.
The Conference also had an ‘in-house’ deaf committee and Elder Mark Johnson and Elder Dale Kongorski were some of the Conference people who led out with the committee. Each year there was some budget available for deaf work.
In 1987 when Pastor Jordan came to hold a series for the Deaf in Burnaby, the Conference first had a budget of $10,000, but that faltered when the advertising for the Deaf failed to get to the publisher in time. However, Blake’s and Jordan’s economized and were still given a $4,000 budget which proved adequate. There were three deaf baptized at the end of Jordan’s series in Burnaby: Greg Greenwood, Terese Rognmo and Yuk Kee.
With Pastor Gaul’s retirement from pastoral employ and Blake’s not working with a mini-camp meeting, the BC work for the Deaf has taken a hit. However, there is an attempt in 2017 to restart some work with a recent deaf German immigrant, Samuel Hines and his helper at church, Mateusz Sobczak, recently from Poland. Both are attending the Surrey church and the church is rising to the occasion!
ALBERTA CONFERENCE OF SDA
The Alberta Conference has been very open to Deaf Ministry for many years and has been quite liberal in the amount of funding made available for deaf work. They paid for Blake’s trip to the Holy Land to get pictures for the “Jesus Life Story” video series. They approved the gift of $50,000 made by a member for producing videos for the Deaf. At first they even paid for Blake’s to go to Ontario to try and develop a ministry there. There were a number of trips in the late 1990’s to help develop work in Toronto. They even paid for one or more of Blake’s overseas trips – the first one to India and probably the one to investigate deaf work in China.
Conference President’s Elders’ Wiebe, Kongorski, & Corkum, etc., have been very supportive of the Deaf Ministry work. Treasurer’s have also been very open to helping. When Blake’s first returned to Canada in 1985, Elder Don Corkum was the Personal Ministries director and was very supportive and helpful.
The Conference has recently worked with Pastor Blake in having an Introduction to Sign Language and Deaf Ministry class each year from 2014-2016. And, for over 20 years, they have enabled Deaf Ministry to have a booth in the Display tent.
The Alberta Adventist News has kindly carried a full page article now for several years in each issue. This provides not only many aspects of “Deaf Awareness”, but lets the church members know what is available in DVD’s and Easy Reading Publications, etc., for ministry with Deaf. Opportunity has been provided at many camp meetings for a 7 min. report from the Department during the main weekday morning service. Several camp radio interviews have been made available.
ONTARIO & QUEBEC CONFERENCES OF SDA
The Ontario Conference provided an adequate budget for Pastor David and Francisca Trexler to come to Ontario for a parallel Deaf Evangelistic series in Toronto before the year 2,000 GC Session. For this we can be very thankful – especially to Romeo Daquila. There was funding made available for Pastor Paul Kelly to come up to Toronto and do some follow-up work. However, the distances were too great and the plan gradually came to an end with no baptisms of those from non-SDA homes.
Since that series, we are unaware of any significant further Conference involvement in Deaf Ministry, though they have started a church for the Blind! We have heard that some further plans are under development for 2019 with Theodore Sargeant, the new Compassion Ministries Director for the Ontario Conference.
GOSPEL OUTREACH (GO)
Gospel Outreach Canada has allowed all deaf work in Africa to be carried out through the USA office so all deaf work could stay better connected. They have send funds raised in Canada on to the USA office for use in other countries overseas.
The work began back just before 2000 when Sathiyamoorthy was too deaf to pastor and Dorothy Watts, wife of the Southern Asia Division President, solicited help for an operation and hearing aid for Sathiyamoorthy. He became the first full time pastor for Deaf in India. 50% of his salary was paid directly from funds given in Canada for Deaf work in India. In the next few years, Gospel Outreach started to sponsor many other Deaf Lay Bible Workers. By 2006, GO was already sponsoring about 13 workers and Blake asked if GO would start a department. It was agreed and the work has grown. There are now about 50 workers in 16 countries.
Gospel Outreach workers are connected with about 6 churches that have been built/bought for the Deaf in India. The one shown here is in Thanjavur. GO helps supply workers to bless the church groups.
Blake lost a great Associate in the department, Elder Alfred Griffith, when in 2017 he had to resign to look after his wife with Parkinson’s. Griffith had been working especially with the workers in India. Marvin Budd has come on board to now especially help in India. He and Chuck McGehee are planning a trip to train workers in India in 2019.
The search is now on to find more help as 13 countries are too many for one person to work with through the GO supervisory structure. [Blake also has some administrative help in the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The work is Brazil is self-directed.] Though all the 50 Lay Workers are employees of their local Conference or Mission, where possible, GO still tries to help with training. The Regional Directors are expected to check on the financial records and examine the worker’s quarterly reports. Since GO has no paid full time workers in the Canadian or USA offices, most of the donations can go to pay the GO Worker’s stipends.
However, the workers face challenges because the workers stipends are only set at 50% of a pastor’s basic salary, not counting rent, medical, travel, educational allowances or sustentation benefits. In reality, the GO worker only receives 1/3 or less of the total wage package of a full denominational pastoral worker. This presents some major challenges that the leaders at GO are hoping to solve!