Lee student Faithlyn Hall interpreting for a church service at North Cleveland Church of God
Throughout the school year, several Lee University Deaf studies students serve every Sunday morning at North Cleveland Church of God, interpreting worship lyrics, announcements, and prayers during the services for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing.
“The Deaf community loves to see Lee students signing at church,” said Dr. La-Juan Bradford, director of academic support and assistant professor of education at Lee. “Hearing people are often afraid to sign out of fear of stealing the language, but the Deaf community loves it when young people are interested in interpreting.”
The students have been involved in interpreting at NCCOG services for the past six years. According to Dr. Bradford, while school is in session, several pews in church are filled not only by members of the Deaf community, but also by Lee sign language students. These students will not only sign the music from their pews, but also converse with the Deaf community before and after church services.
“Being a student interpreter has been both a challenge and a blessing,” said Faithlyn Hall, a Lee senior minoring in Deaf studies. “I have been interpreting for a little over a year, and this ministry has helped me grow in my knowledge of American Sign Language. I am so honored to be involved!”
Lee’s Deaf studies students receive the worship song lyrics in advance and spend the days leading up to the service practicing sign language with a professor or person who has completed the Deaf studies minor. The students will rarely sign the songs by themselves, and rather work together in a group. On occasion, more advanced students will sign for the prayers, announcements, and offerings.
“The Deaf are very patient and kind to the students, and encourage them to become interpreters,” said Dr. Bradford. “They’re very giving toward these students, so this group is not just for Deaf, but also for students who want to interact with the Deaf.”
For more information about Deaf studies and American Sign Language at Lee, contact Dr. Bradford at email@example.com, or visit www.leeuniversity.edu/academics/education/human-development/.