Why an international federation for pastoral care among hard of hearing?
The modern society, especially in the larger cities, is a noise ridden society, resulting in a growing number of hearing impaired people. An increasing number of ever younger people suffer from being hard of hearing.
A hearing impairment may vary from the mildest one, causing no or only very few problems of daily life, to a full deafness. Most hearing impaired persons find themselves being somewhere between these two extremes. Their hearing impairment causes them various problems of daily life, but they are not deaf. Their language is the spoken, not the signed one. Their social life and their identity are within the hearing society, and given a proper facilitation they will still function there. This facilitation may be of various kinds – varying from technical devices to sign supported communication.
As Christians – of various denominations and church traditions – it is our vocation to communicate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to all mankind. How do we encounter those who need facilitated communication? How do we encounter the new generation of hearing impaired people, a generation not asking for charity, but demanding their God-given right to communicate on equal terms with everybody else? The answer to these questions can only be given in a close communication with those being hard of hearing themselves. And the answers have to be given, or else they will turn their backs to the churches.
We also need to exchange experiences across the national and the church borders. Therefore it is necessary to come together
to listen to those who know the problems from their daily lives.
to discuss solutions to the problems.
to share our experiences and to learn from each others.
to encounter each others in order to bring a new inspiration back to our countries and to our churches.
to find ways to act united towards church authorities – and in some cases also towards secular authorities.
We therefore invite you – church leaders, pastors, deacons and lay people from churches and diaconal organisations, hearing impaired and normally hearing as well – to join our international fellowship and collaborate in a common effort for and together with people having a hearing impairment.