A message of harmony

JOHNSBURG This past Sunday, parishioners of the RW Johnsburg United Methodist Church were honored to host the Hands in Faith youth ministry group from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Hands in Faith, the deaf ministry arm of Hands in Harmony, has perfected the art of "sign-singing," a choreographed sign language routine designed to speak to the hearing impaired, to enhance the sound presentation for the hearing, and as a vehicle to reach all audiences with their message. This event is the third time the group has visited the region as part of their annual national tour. Through a combination of music, sign language, dance, and musical soundtracks - they convey a message of faith in a unique and dynamic way. Consisting of young people ages 4 to 19, potential members must complete a challenging sign language training regime before appearing on stage. Facial expressions, body language, and timing are all critical skills learned by each member. The group averages nearly 100 appearances per year, with the Hands in Harmony organization presenting a variety of shows, workshops, full-length productions, specialty programs and services in sound and sign, as it serves conventions, schools, clubs, churches, community organizations, fraternal organizations, and individuals. The Johnsburg Methodist Church discovered Hands in Faith through the travels of two members as they passed through Wyoming several years ago. The couple extended an invitation for the group to perform during their next Northeastern tour, which they readily accepted. I think theyre just great performers, Barbara Thomas, Lay Speaker for the Methodist Church, says. I also like the ministry they do since I really think theres a need for it. Its a wonderfully entertaining performance and very moving, Thomas concludes. It plays on peoples emotions and I cant wait to have them back again.

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