Recording artist Billy Joel once said, “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music”. This was especially true on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Galilee Baptist Church, 2440 North Point Road, in the Dundalk community of Baltimore County. It was at this location that a unique kind of concert took place…a concert which transcended age, culture, ability groups and ethnicity.
The theme for the concert was “God’s Got It” and it was a special way of acknowledging and celebrating the Deaf community. This Deaf Awareness Day event was filled with various groups coming together for a praise and worship experience unlike any other. The service was translated in American Sign Language (ASL) and voiced to accommodate both the Hearing, Deaf and Hearing Impaired communities.
The groups on hand to “sing” were:
- Mighty Men of God (comprised of men from Bethel AME, Galilee and Israel Baptist Churches),
- Shayinnia McCoy Ministries,
- Hallelujah Hands of Praise from Hampton, VA,
- Hands of Praise from Baltimore, MD,
- Hands Anointed Nurtured and Dedicated to Serve (H.A.N.D.S.) from Landover, MD,
- Healing Hands from Baltimore, MD,
- Blessed Hands of God from Cleveland Ohio and
- Ambassadors for Christ Sign Choir, also from Baltimore
The host group was the Deaf Ministry of Galilee Baptist Church.
The songs ranged from traditional to hip-hop to contemporary gospel selections. As each group ministered to the congregants gathered, the songs were very soul-stirring as they were delivered with animation, energy, attitude and swag. In addition, there was plenty of choreography and coordinated attire as the ministries, stepped, swayed and clapped (in ASL) to the delight of the standingroom only audience.
Philadelphia-born Warren Snipe was the host with the most, a charismatic and comedic person who joked and created laughter for those in attendance, whether of the hearing or impaired community. Now residing in Washington DC, Snipe is best known as an advocate for the Deaf community as he, humbly, shares his poems, songs and passion for music.
The Deaf Awareness activities culminate on Sunday, April 17, 2016 as Galilee Baptist Church celebrates its 103rd anniversary and the Pastor and First Lady’s 26th anniversary of service, during which Rev. Rico Paige is expected to deliver the preached word in voice and ASL. (Paige was also on hand during the concert to extend the invitation to discipleship.)
The congregation appeared to be enjoying the concert to the extent that one could not tell which persons were hearing and which were deaf/hearing impaired as there was much (silent) clapping.
This unique kind of concert was a great way to fellowship with, learn from and encourage each other.