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Report from Scholarship Recipient, Timothy Barth

The United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries,
Grace and Peace in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
I have been praying for each and every member of the committee and thank God for the work you do in furthering his kingdom. I wanted to take a moment and give you an update on the spring semester and once again thank you for helping fund my seminary education.
I took three classes this semester: Theology of Disability, The Significance of the Catechumenate for Making Disciples, and English Exegesis of the Gospel of Mark.
In the Theology of Disability class, I learned of the discrimination faced by persons who have disabilities and the different theological perspectives that attempt liberate persons with disabilities from harmful stereotypes.
In the Catechumenate Discipleship class, I looked at the ancient catechumenate and the modern rites of baptism and had to write a catechumenate for the church today that incorporated some of the ancient methods of the catechumenate. As I crafted my catechumenate, I tried to be mindful of persons who are hard of hearing and deaf by incorporating different activities rather than all “hearing exercise.”
In the Mark Exegesis Class, I wrote my thesis paper on the healing of a blind man in relationship to the disciples. The main point to my paper was this: “if one is called to follow after Jesus, then they must reject the domination system. To renounce or deny oneself is more than a call to give up one's will and to re-prioritize oneself as last, but rather, it is to renounce one's kinship.” To this end, I note that the disciples experience mini-healings by which they acknowledge Jesus as God's son but fail to grasp the teachings of Christ that we must not only reject the domination system but activity tear down the walls of the system. Overall, the classes have been very forming and have given me a lot of things to think about in regards to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries. I pray that the work of this committee will continue to tear down the walls of the domination system that seek to portray persons with sensory disabilities as less than “normal.” This coming year I will be taking: American Christianity, Parish-Based CPE and a Missional Church and Evangelism class. I am looking forward to the classes and reporting back to you next semester. I will also continue to serve on the Commission on Disabilities for the Virginia Conference.
Blessing and Peace,
Rev. Timothy