Our Mission Statement
"The Evangelical Lutheran Deaf Association (ELDA) is a national Lutheran organization of Deaf ELCA congregations, interpreted ministries, and their members which supports a core value of ASL and American Deaf Culture. ELDA advocates Deaf spirituality and empowerment, Deaf global missions and youth outreach, interpreter training, and hosts a biennial conference.
What is ELDA?
The Evangelical Lutheran Deaf Association is comprised of member Deaf churches, Deaf ministries and individuals within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Prior to the year 2000, it was clear that a nationwide organization was needed that could provide support, education and information sharing among the churches and ministry services within the ELCA. ELDA was formed. To help accomplish this, a new position was needed within the ELCA to coordinate and help strengthen the churches and ministries serving the Deaf and hard of hearing in the United States. A resolution was created and passed, see below. The churches began meeting at conferences every two years, a newsletter was created to keep the churches networked and communicating with each other, and now, ELDA is on the Web!
ELDA Resolution: A Call for Action for Empowerment of Deaf Ministry
Whereas, Christ ministered to the Deaf and enjoined His followers to do likewise;
Whereas, the vast majority of Deaf are unchurched and opportunities for outreach with the Deaf are enormous but largely untapped;
Whereas, the Deaf have a culture and language that are unique to their particular community and needs that are unlike the needs of people who are disabled;
Whereas, the Deaf do not consider themselves disabled, but a people with their own distinct culture and language;
Whereas, the ELCA's Division for Church in Society currently combines national oversight of Deaf ministry and ministry with disabled persons in one position; namely, the Director for Disability Ministries and Deaf Ministry;
Whereas, the Deaf in the ELCA, represented by the Evangelical Lutheran Deaf Association (ELDA), are adamant in their view that the current arrangement is culturally inappropriate and does not adequately address the needs of Deaf ministry and outreach in the congregations of the ELCA;
Whereas, development of Deaf ministry will require time, effort and intentionality that only a full-time person can reasonably fulfill;
Therefore, in response to ELDA's request, be it resolved that the ELCA separate the position of Director for Disability Ministries and Deaf Ministry into two distinct positions, once serving the Deaf and the other serving the disabled;
Be it further resolved, that the ELCA hire a full-time person on the national level whose sole responsibility will be to work with Deaf ministry;
Be it further resolved that ELDA develop the position description in consultation with the ELCA;
Be it further resolved that the person hired for this position has an understanding of Deaf culture and the unique needs of the Deaf community, fluency in ASL (American Sign Language) and extensive experience with Deaf ministry;
Be it further resolved that both Deaf and hearing persons be encouraged to apply for this position;
Be it further resolved that, in the spirit of the ELCA constitutional mandate that, whenever possible, decisions should be made with the people most affected, at least one half of the search committee for this position be Deaf and persons selected by ELDA.
Unanimously passed by the Evangelical Lutheran Deaf Association
June 24, 2000
The above resolution resulted in the creation of a part-time position: Director of ELCA Deaf Ministries, currently held by Rev. Beth Lockard.