:: Sabannah Morning News | The religious education of Sadie Griffith ::

The religious education of Sadie Griffith

Dana Clark Felty | Sunday, April 1, 2007 | (see enhanced version)

From left, Sadie Griffith, 11, and her best friend Kiara
Jordan, 10, both of whom are deaf, sign along with
interpreter Andrea Ryan during Sunday prayer service
at Trinity United Methodist Church. (Photo: Stephen
Berend)

What Sue Thompson remembers most about being a child in Trinity United Methodist Church was prancing down the aisle each Sunday and plopping down next to her grandfather, Harry Zoucks.

What doesn’t immediately come to mind were the hundreds of sermons and Bible stories taught by pastors and teachers over the years.

Thompson believes the message sank in anyway. After all, she grew up in that church and married husband Charlie Thompson there.

Now Sue wants the same experience for their two grandchildren.

For 11-year-old granddaughter Sadie Griffith, though, there’s an obstacle to learning about her family’s religion. Unlike anyone else at Trinity, Sadie is deaf.

While the Thompsons loved the historic “mother church of Methodism” and its intimate congregation, they grew concerned that Sadie wasn’t catching any of the religious lessons other children learn just by being present at church.

“Everybody is so kind to her. Every Sunday she passes the offering plate,” said Sue. “And she says thank you, and everybody kind of giggles because nobody ever says thank you at the offering plate.”

“But I felt that maybe we ought to go to a church that has a deaf church service,” she said. “(Sadie) is coming to the services and experiencing the community and love – which I think is the most important part – but she’s missing the part about religion.”

The Rev. Enoch Hendry agreed and brought the matter to the church’s leaders.

“When Sadie first walked in the door, we obviously embraced her and were so pleased and proud and yet it took us a while to think about this,” said the minister. “There’s so much about church, about ritual, that we take for granted, stuff we don’t think about. Here Sadie was sort of missing the point of everything.” Continue

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