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The way we were: 1955

Ingvald Thvedt leads worship with deaf and hearing-impaired children

Ingvald Thvedt leads worship with deaf and hearing-impaired children from the Minnesota Academy for the Deaf

At Ephphatha Lutheran Church, Faribault, Minn., Ingvald Thvedt leads worship with deaf and hearing-impaired children from the Minnesota Academy for the Deaf.

Begun in 1898 by the former United Norwegian Lutheran Church to serve the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf and the Minnesota Academy for the Blind, the Ephphatha Church for the Deaf and Blind in Faribault dissolved in 1983, when the work was assumed by Our Savior Lutheran Church.

A similar mission of the UNLC to support the Sioux Falls-based South Dakota School for the Deaf, dating from 1911, is now carried out by Ephphatha Heartland Ministries at Peace Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls.

Mission work begun in the 1930s among deaf and hearing-impaired people in the Twin Cities eventually resulted in the 1951 formation of Bread of Life Lutheran Church.

The Ephphatha Missions of the American Lutheran Church (an ELCA predecessor) supported these missions, consulted with other Lutheran congregations, produced educational and awareness-raising materials, and distributed cassette tape and Braille versions of The Lutheran Standard, Scope, Augsburg Publishing House Sunday school curriculum and other ALC resources. In 1984, Ephphatha Services was integrated into the ALC Division for Service and Mission in America.


Comments

Brad Peterson

Brad Peterson

Posted at 5:35 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/15/2010

Every once and a while we can look back and see that  "inclusiveness" has been a process among US Lutherans for a long time.  Even if we might judge the methods of our forebears as old-fashioned, their goal of inclusively sharing the Good News was on target.  Bread of Life Lutheran Church for the Deaf, Minneapolis, now models inclusivity to the rest of us, by including the "hearing community" in its worship with the following notice on its website:  "Voice Interpreter is provided for those who do not sign at every service."  At every service!?  How many of us "hearing congregations" provide a sign interpreter at every service? Or would even know how to sign the word "Welcome?" -Brad Peterson, San Francisco



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