Church brings gospel to the deaf
By CASSANDRA MICKENS/Associate Editor
NORTH SHELBY — Cherybe Thornton was reared by two deaf parents who loved the Lord.
Now an interpreter at The Deaf Church at Brook Hills, Thornton, a hearing woman, shares the gospel with the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
“I read that statistically 98 percent of the deaf don’t know Jesus, and the reason for that is the language barrier,” Thornton said. “It’s an untouched community.”
The Deaf Church at Brook Hills, located in the Student Center on the campus of The Church at Brook Hills off U.S. 280 on Brook Highland Parkway, speak and sing the gospel via American Sign Language. Bible study is Sundays at 10:15 a.m., followed by worship service at 11:30 a.m. A midweek Bible study is held each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., and also can be accessed online. Robert B. Jones serves as Deaf Church pastor.
“We communicate with video phones,” Thornton said of the Wednesday Bible study. The Sunday worship service also can be accessed online, but unlike Wednesday Bible study, online visitors can’t communicate in real time.
“We have online visitors from Ohio and Pennsylvania, and sometimes we get missionaries in foreign countries,” Thornton said. “We also have online visitors from Mobile, Robertsville, Prattville, mostly smaller, rural areas that don’t have a deaf ministry or deaf church.”
Thornton added: “There are a lot of people in the community who aren’t aware The Deaf Church is here. We try to get the word out, but it’s difficult sometimes. It doesn’t matter what denomination you are. If you believe in Jesus Christ, you’re welcome, and even if you don’t, you’re welcome. We’re trying to reach others for Christ. ”
In addition to Bible study and worship, The Deaf Church offers year-round sign language classes and hosts a monthly fellowship event for the deaf community at large.
Thornton said The Deaf Church has been housed at The Church of Brook Hills for nearly 20 years, and funds are being raised to construct a church building.
“We’ve been saving our money for years and we’re hoping we can start building soon,” Thornton said. “It’s important for the deaf to have a facility that is deaf-friendly, with proper lighting and a proper sound system to feel the vibration of the music.”
To access The Deaf Church Bible study and worship service online, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. For more information about The Deaf Church, call (205) 960-5057.