Elberta Cochran, left, signs to Christine Mofield, a hearing-impaired friend, during Saturday’s deaf social. Cochran has been deaf since she was seven months old, but said she has lived a great life and overcome the disability.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Elberta Cochran, left, signs to Christine Mofield, a hearing-impaired friend, during Saturday’s deaf social. Cochran has been deaf since she was seven months old, but said she has lived a great life and overcome the disability.

Enjoying the fellowship: Social event brings Craig hearing-impaired community together

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Michigan pastor Del Granger, left, poses with Staci Nichols in the basement of Calvary Baptist Church on Saturday during the second annual Northwestern Deaf Social. The two came together to foster fellowship among hearing-impaired friends.

It isn’t always easy bringing Northwest Colorado’s deaf and hearing-impaired community together, advocates said, but a social event Saturday at Calvary Baptist Church in Craig sought to overcome that obstacle.

The second annual Northwestern Deaf Social took place in the church’s basement, and drew about 50 people, 15 of whom were deaf.

“This gives hearing-impaired people a place to gather,” said Staci Nichols, a Craig resident and the event’s coordinator, through an interpreter.

Nichols, who is deaf, and Deena Armstrong are members of the church, and brought in a ministry team from Michigan to participate in the Saturday event and give testimonies.

“Bringing them in helps the others not feel so isolated and be able to get out and enjoy in fellowship,” Nichols said.

Del Granger, who is also deaf, preaches at churches in Ann Arbor and Flint, Mich. He brought two deaf members of his churches. The group of three drove out to help Nichols and her cause.

“(Nichols) wanted us to come out here and try and reach the community and just give them hope,” said Granger, also through an interpreter.

Granger has instituted many programs at his church to help hearing-impaired people, he said.

Granger conducts his sermons in sign language, and an interpreter translates for the congregation. He also leads a deaf Sunday school and preaches Bible stories in the form of skits.

Granger was born deaf, but he has learned to sign and use some vocals to communicate with anyone he meets.

Christine Mofield, of Flint, Mich., made the trip with Granger. It was her fourth ministry trip, she said.

“Staci and Deena put on a wonderful event,” she said. “They wanted Del to come out here and do the Lord’s work, and that is what they got.”

Those attending Saturday’s event enjoyed food cooked by church members and chatted as they got to know each other.

“The people from the church gave their time and their food,” Nichols said. “They are very supportive and always willing to help.”

Deaf people from Craig, Rifle, Steamboat Springs and Castle Rock all came to enjoy in the fellowship.

Elberta Cochran, the oldest hearing-impaired woman in attendance, said she was excited for the opportunity to meet more deaf people.

“I had spinal meningitis when I was seven months old that caused me to lose my hearing,” she said. “This event is a wonderful way to meet and greet a new friend.”

But, the importance of the event registered with more than just those who are deaf.

Randy Armstrong, who attended Saturday to help cook and socialize, said the event was like no other.

“It is an amazing thing,” he said. “It truly is something great.”

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