The Orthodox Christian Deaf Association (OCDA) was formed with the blessing of Archbishop Alexander ((Golitzin) of the Diocese of the South (OCA) in April 2020. It is under the 501(c)(3) umbrella of Holy Nativity of the Lord Orthodox Church (OCA) in Shreveport, LA. The purpose of this pan-Orthodox organization is to connect Orthodox deaf Christians of all jurisdictions together in order to foster fellowship, create useful resources, both educational and liturgical, plan special events, and to introduce the greater deaf community to the Orthodox faith. For this to happen, we also need hearing Orthodox Christians who are versed in ASL to join and assist us in developing the OCDA.
Why form the OCDA? Estimates from the SIPP (The Survey of Income and Program Participation) indicate that 1 in 20 Americans are currently deaf or hard of hearing. In round numbers, nearly 10,000,000 persons are hard of hearing and close to 1,000,000 are functionally deaf. How many of these are Orthodox Christians? We do not know. Currently, there is no organization in North America that focuses on uniting and serving the Orthodox deaf community. Moreover, how is the Orthodox Church in North America reaching out to the deaf and hard of hearing with the Gospel? The OCDA was formed to assist the Church in uniting, serving, and reaching out to the Orthodox deaf and others in the Name of Christ.
OCDA's primary objective at this time is to identify Orthodox deaf Christians and connect them to each other via the OCDA. If you are a hearing Orthodox Christian that is competent in ASL, or if you are interested in learning more about it and working with the deaf community, we ask that you consider joining the OCDA and help us! Once we have established a united membership, we will begin developing various resources and planning events for the Orthodox deaf community. But it starts with all of us getting involved and spreading the news!