In 1856, Amos Kendall gave two acres of his estate in northeast Washington, DC to establish what would later be called the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind. The school hired as its superintendent Edward Miner Gallaudet, the son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, who founded the first school in the US for the Deaf. Congress approved the institution to give college degrees in 1864, and the college arm of the school was renamed Gallaudet College in 1894. Gallaudet University now has an enrollment of over 1,500 students and is known worldwide as the high standard in Deaf education and resources.
“Gallaudet today is very dark as opposed to my time there,” says SBCV church planter Cameron House. “There are posters or banners promoting sex and choosing alternative lifestyles. When I was attending Gallaudet back in 1999, it was quieter or not so revealing.
“We did a prayerwalk last year before school started,” explains Pastor Cameron. “God urged us to do a walk like [the Israelites did around] Jericho. …There were three of us who actually walked seven times around Gallaudet’s campus before I even started the ministry [there].”
Pastor Cameron is leading Deaf Church DC, an SBCV church plant, which meets on campus and averages about 20–30 students on Sundays. They also meet on Wednesday evenings and average about 10.
Cameron and his family (wife Meghann and daughters Sama and Josie) attend Gallaudet’s chapel service every Saturday night, which is led by Gallaudet’s chaplin. Attending the chapel service helps build positive connections with other Deaf leaders and helps the Houses connect with students. Most of the Deaf students who come to the chapel service have strong ethnic backgrounds. Some are Asian, which provides Pastor Cameron the opportunity to use Chinese Sign Language (CSL) with them to communicate the Gospel. Cameron and Meghann learned CSL when they served as International Mission Board missionaries in China.
During Easter weekend 2017, Deaf Church DC partnered with Living Word Deaf Church of Forest, VA. Pastor John Wyble and Living Word came to Gallaudet and performed a play about the Lord’s Supper. There were 110 in attendance.
To a spiritually dark campus, God is bringing light through Deaf Church DC. “I am thankful to the Lord for allowing me to be here to share His Gospel,” shares Pastor Cameron.