"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Monday, April 7, 2014

ADA Violation at Upcoming Giant Center Event: Beth Moore and Lifeway

*Since the publishing of this blog, after a call from a Disability Rights attorney Carol Horowitz, there will be captions! Read the update of how that came about here: http://xpressivehandz.blogspot.com/2014/04/captions-to-be-provided-at-giant-center.html
ADA Violation at Upcoming Giant Event: Beth Moore and LifeWay

Many financially healthy churches and faith based organizations continue to choose to discriminate against persons with hearing loss for whom English is their first language. These organizations seem to care more about money than souls. Churches don't have to abide by ADA laws, but one would think that they would voluntarily do the right thing and provide equal access to language for DISABLED persons...after all, they do provide wheelchair access for others with mobility disabilities. And faith based organizations ARE required to comply with the ADA.
My first experience with this was at a church up the road from us in Manheim, LCBC . In a very recent correspondence with them, I was told there is no money in the budget for captions for DISABLED persons with hearing loss. However, they are implementing Spanish interpreters for their services. They already have ASL interpreters each Sunday morning for the culturally deaf people.
Recently, I became involved with a captioning committee with Nancy Kingsley, director of the Hearing Loss Association of America PA State Office and Terri Avis, CART Provider/Captioner. Carol Mellott, an ASL volunteer interpreter, informed me of the upcoming Beth Moore conference. Carol and our captioning committee met with volunteers from LifeWay to discuss the need for captioning at the Beth More conference coming to the Giant Center here at Hershey PA. 
After meeting with the volunteers for LifeWay in person, we received this email.
Thank you Terri for talking with the ADA coordinator at the Giant Center, and for all of the continued conversation about the best way to accommodate those with hearing loss.  I appreciate knowing about the needs of those of you with hearing loss, and about the wonderful ways to allow everyone to be able to be included. There is an ache in my heart, and in the heart of the women at Lifeway to be able to find ways for everyone to attend and experience the event in it's fullness. 

In addition to the previously mentioned interpreter and hearing devices that Lifeway offers, I have talked with Lifeway some more about the information you have shared.  Although they are not able to offer all that has been requested, this is how they can bless you:
  • Joyce and Terri would be blessed with a ticket to come to the event.  We would love for you to join us!  If you can come, the tickets will be at the "Will Call" window under your names.  
  • Lifeway will also put their names on assigned seats in the front near the stage and the interpreter if that is preferred. 
  • Terri is welcome to bring her equipment to offer the CART service, but the costs will not be covered.  For now, since Joyce is the only one requesting the service, we are hopeful that Terri's laptop, or a monitor that she can hook her laptop into will be sufficient.  If a monitor is requested, they will need to know this in advance.
  • The words for the songs will be on all of the monitors for everyone to see.  This is standard procedure for LPL events.

Thank you for meeting with us, sharing your hearts and ideas, and being open to the ways Lifeway is accommodating you and the hearing loss community on May 2-3rd.  I know that not all of your requests were granted, but I'm hopeful that what can be offered will make your experience more meaningful.  Carol, Joyce and Terri, I hope to see you there!  Nancy, we will miss you.

This is my response to their email:
After seeking God and praying about your offer, I have made a prayerful, Spirit led decision.

Thank you for offering free tickets for me to attend this event, however, it just isn't right.

The way I see it, it is not fair that interpreters will be paid for and provided for culturally deaf people while the organization will not provide equal access via captioning for DISABLED persons with hearing loss and pay for a captionist to provide this service.

For me to attend the Beth Moore event at this point would mean that I condone this ongoing injustice against people with hearing loss and deaf people who do not know ASL at Christian and faith based conventions in our area.

I don't think that God would want any group of disabled people singled out and discriminated against in this manner. 

Therefore I decline invitation to attend the event and future events of Life Way and Beth Moore at the conviction of my heart on behalf of deafened and disabled persons with hearing loss whose first language is not ASL, but English.

Thank you for taking time to meet with us and for taking time to consider meeting the need for open captions for all for this event.


Joyce Edmiston


  1. Hi Joyce. Sorry to hear you find church discriminating to your needs. Your reply was well said about not attending.

    They may not like to see themselves as discriminating. But they are. Everyone catered for accept for people like you. I would be extremley annoyed myself personally that they can provide spanish terps. But not cover for hearing loss who's first language is englush. Shocking.

    1. Liz, thank you for your continued support. It's good to be validated by others who share the same kind of issues as we navigate the waters of equal access.

  2. Now, I know why I never saw a CART provider at the Beth Moore conventions. Shameful really.

  3. Thus the reason why I stay away from organized religion. Joyce you did the right thing. Bravo!

  4. Thank you, Anonymous! People don't realize that many deaf and persons with hearing loss cannot distinguish sounds and amplification does NOT cure or solve the communication problem.. For those whose first language is English, it is imperative to have CART captioning available.

  5. Does anyone have issue with the current ASL interpreter that Beth Moore is using for her Living Proof conference? Over 6-hour weekend conference by herself and severely missing major concepts our misinterpreting them. So difficult to watch. First time I truly wish CART was provided instead. :(

    1. Thank you for stopping by the blog, Anonymous. I've not heard anything about this. If they had CART provided with the ASL (they had both where we were sitting) I'm sure it would have been much easier for you. You should contact them and let them know this.