For many of my peers, coming into deafness late in life is a struggle. I am fortunate, though, because I learned the basics of Sign Language years ago, and I continue to learn today. However, so many older adults never had the opportunity. Learning a new language at this stage of life can be incredibly difficult. Many have arthritis which makes signing difficult. It's also not easy to recall the vocabulary and nuances of new or foreign language.
For this generation, worship services are extremely difficult. While many churches are thoughtful enough to offer ASL interpreters for the deaf, they overlook having Captions for the late deafened adults who are caught in a wedge between the two worlds.
Churches would be surprised to see how easy it is to provide CART, Real Time Captioning. All it takes is a computer, a screen and a typist or stenographer. It is quite simple to do, and wouldn't cost much if someone volunteered their time and talent. If no one knows how to do this, there are wonderful professionals available to provide the service remotely over the internet. The technology to do this is amazing and worth the investment. It is heartbreaking to see Churches that are incredibly "financially healthy" sending thousands of dollars overseas to connect people with God, but neglecting the very people in their neighborhood the very same opportunity by simply providing captions.
People are asking their churches everywhere to provide this service. How wonderful that some churches have jumped immediately to meet this need.
How wonderful that Jesus made the effort to visit the women, the children and the sick and disabled and whoever was seeking God. He took the time to be sure they were cared for, their needs were met, and that they knew by his actions that he loved them. He made the intentional effort to see that they received the Good News God had for them. God is inclusive.
Providing Captions is such a small thing to do for your neighbor, yet it is an incredibly huge action of love.
Encourage your church to provide this service, and PUBLICIZE that it is available in your literature, in your announcements, everywhere you can. People are looking for God and a place to "see" the word of God acted upon with intention, in word, and in deed.
Want to know more? Here are a few places with more information:
CCACaptioning @CCACaptioning http://ccacaptioning.org/cart-community-clubs-religious-organizations-social-groups/
Great video and info here: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/disability_issues&id=7997085