Adelaide Deaf Community Church
Regular worship services are held at 10.00 am on Sundays at:
The Royal Deaf Society Chapel
262 South Terrace
Adelaide SA 5000
Both hearing and Deaf people are warmly invited to visit, but it is advisable to check first that a service is being held on that Sunday and (if you are hearing) to make sure that an interpreter will be available as services are run entirely in sign language.
There will not usually be a service on the fourth Sunday of the month. On these Sundays the Adelaide Deaf Community Church often visits another congregation. They run a Deaf worship service at the regular worship time, showing how Deaf worship is carried out, giving hearing congregations an opportunity to take part and asking for prayers and support for their ministry.
If you would like the Deaf Community Church to visit your congregation, contact the Friends of Deaf Ministry chairman (details below).
When the Royal South Australian Deaf Society headquarters were built in 1926, a fine chapel was included. A foundation congregation existed for some years but then lapsed. The chapel remained unused for many years. Churches found Deaf ministry just too difficult. From the end of 1974 Pastor Len Tscharke held services for Deaf people in that chapel, using the help of interpreters. Others helped, too, particularly David Sabel, who continued this work and even learnt AUSLAN (AUtralian Sign LANguage).
Slowly a small congregation was formed. This was a good start; Deaf people were 'seeing' the Good News, the message of salvation in their own language. Visits from a Sydney-based pastor, Neville Sandon (whose parents were Deaf), attracted great numbers of people to Deaf church services. But what was really needed was a Deaf person to minister to them.
Through the grace of God, a member of the congregation, a Deaf man, John Hoopmann, was called to study, graduate and be ordained as the pastor of St James Church of the Deaf. The name of the church has since been changed to the Adelaide Deaf Community Church. This congregation consists of both Deaf and hearing people and is ecumenical. Visitors are always welcome (but check beforehand to ensure that a service will be held on that Sunday).
John Hoopmann was born profoundly Deaf. When his parents, Pastor Wally and Myra Hoopmann, discovered his deafness they used all their resources to help him cope with his 'unseen disability'. Special training helped. They also ensured that he mixed with hearing children at a state school so that he could learn to cope in the hearing world. He obtained employment at the Lutheran Church's publishing company, then called Lutheran Publishing House. He spent 28 years there before responding to the call to the ministry. He learned to lip-read and sign, even though he found this extremely difficult.
He met and married his wife Sandra, who is also Deaf. Their first child Amber, a hearing child, was born. A visit from an American pastor who had had extensive experience with Deaf people, helped John to decide to accept God's call. With wife and young daughter, John travelled to Fort Wayne, USA, where he studied in a seminary that had a Deaf Ministry Department. While in America John and Sandra's second child, Ben, was born. He too was a hearing child.
Returning to Australia, John continued his studies at Luther Seminary, North Adelaide. He graduated in 1996 and is now the full-time pastor to the congregation of which he was formerly a member.
This congregation is a small but growing community church. Deaf people usually are unable to obtain highly paid employment, so the support that they can give is limited. Some feel that Christ died for the 'hearies' and that deaf people are somehow excluded. They need reassurance that they, too, have the promise of salvation.
How you can help
PrayDeaf people need lots of prayer as they struggle to live in the hearing world and learn about their Lord and Saviour.
VisitPlease come and experience a Deaf service. It is a most rewarding experience. You will have no problems understanding the service, as the Deaf take great care that the 'hearies' can understand what is going on.
Financial AssistanceDonations can be made through the LCA Online Donations facility. Alternatively, donations can be sent to the pastor, chairperson or secretary. Also, a facility for Regular Electronic Giving (REG) has been set up. Arrangements can be made to regularly transfer from a personal bank account to the Adelaide Deaf Community Church account. Using REG, the minimum amount that can be donated per month is $10 per month (that's only 33 cents a day).
Pastor John Hoopmann
Phone T.T.Y.(Deaf Relay Service) 13 36 77 then 08 8331 0539
Fax 08 8331 0540
Friends of the Adelaide Deaf Community Church
Chairman: phone 08 8271 3641
Secretary: phone/fax 08 8564 1091