Updated: February 21, 2017
A total of five (5) deaf persons were among ninety-eight (98) baptized under the red and white tent located at the old Jamintel site, off the Newlands Main Road, the venue of the Better Life and Community Series. The baptisms took place on February 11 and 18, 2017.
These members are the first to be baptized since the Deaf Church was established at the Portmore Seventh-day Adventist Church in November 2016. The church has a regular attendance of over forty-six (46) persons.
Pastor of the Portmore Deaf Church, Pastor Coniel Morgan, indicated that ‘the church is growing and several individuals have expressed an interest in joining the Deaf Church’.
Pastor Coniel Morgan was appointed as the Pastor for the Deaf Church by the CJC Executive Committee as of January 1, 2017. He previously served in the Comfort Hall district of churches.
Pastor Morgan’s training in sign language gives him the ability to communicate with and thus to effectively minister to members of the Deaf Community.
The Church is not without challenges, however, as with this growth, the social issues of the members are brought into sharper focus. “It is a community that has been marginalized because of being deaf”, says Pastor Morgan, “and therefore the church will have to also cater to the physiological, educational and social needs of this community”.
He spoke of plans for the various Seventh-day Adventist educational institutions, such as Northern Caribbean University (NCU), to implement training programmes for this special group of persons.
Among the initiatives already implemented to bridge the gap between the hearing and the deaf, is the commencement of signing classes at the Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh-Day Adventist on the 12th February 2017.
Sign language classes commenced with just about 40 persons in attendance. The classes are hosted by the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Department of the Conference each Sunday at 4 pm for the next 10 weeks.
Nadine Peart-Thompson, who was among the first four (4) deaf persons to be baptized on February 11, 2017, testified that she is excited about her new found faith. Nadine expressed that she "feels free and happy that she is no longer under the control of the devil; but is with Jesus." She shared that is learning more about the Bible and likes the songs that the church sings. Nadine also shared that out of gratitude for those who encouraged her, she also has three (3) persons whom she is encouraging to accept Jesus as Saviour.