Panel to Discuss Claggett Statement’s Impact on its 20th Anniversary

April 28, 2005

A group of activists who helped draft a landmark statement concerning theological issues of the deaf community and the implications for Christian churches, will visit Rochester on May 5 to discuss the reasons behind the statement and the current status of the deaf community and the church.

A panel discussion with members of the Christians for the Liberation of the Deaf Community focusing on the Claggett Statement will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, 1100 S. Goodman St. The event is free to the public and will include interpreter services. It is sponsored by the University of Rochester Deaf Studies Cluster, in conjunction with the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School’s Social Justice Committee, with a donation by Interpretek, a local interpreting services agency.

The Claggett Statement, published in 1985 in both written English and American Sign Language, was inspired by liberation theology. The statement calls on churches to have a new understanding of “the spiritual, socio-economic, political, and educational struggles of the Deaf community” and to be accountable for the ways in which it may have participated in such oppression.

The panel on May 5 will consist of Dr. Charlotte Baker-Shenk, ecumenical educator in the Presbyterian Church USA; the Rev. Ray Fleming, pastor of the local Emmanuel Church of the Deaf; Patrick Graybill, deacon at Emmanuel Church of the Deaf; the Rev. Bill Millar, United Church of Canada; Sheila S. Yoder, MSW; and seminary student Susan Masters. Each was involved in the drafting of the Claggett Statement 20 years ago.

The moderator will be Robyn Dean, a sign-language interpreter and researcher with the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Deaf Wellness Center, a faculty member of the Department of Psychiatry, and a graduate student at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.

For Media Inquiries:
Karin Christensen
(585) 275-1311
Email Karin Christensen