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Florida Congregation Launches Church Online Interpreted for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Northland's online church environment now. (PRNewsFoto/Northland Church)
Northland's online church environment now. (PRNewsFoto/Northland Church)

Northland’s online church environment now.

A Central Florida congregation that pioneered church online during the last decade has launched a new option for worshipers: live streaming services interpreted for the deaf and hard of hearing. Available at NorthlandChurch.net Sundays at 11 a.m. (ET), the interpreted service is easily accessible on any mobile device, laptop or desktop.

Worshipers can view the entire service alongside an interpreter via picture-in-picture window. This allows individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to watch services online and participate together with their hearing friends and family.

This interpreted stream will help to maximize the deaf communities’ worship experience, according to Krista Elliott, Northland’s lead interpreter, allowing them to grasp the full meaning of the music and sermons.

According to Elliott, one of the biggest challenges deaf individuals face is getting hearing people to understand that American Sign Language (ASL) is a language that cannot be replicated in any way, such as closed captioning. She adds that many people in the deaf and hard of hearing community rely on ASL rather than written language.

“Hearing people don’t understand how very impactful it is to have a hearing loss,” Elliott says. “If you’re born without hearing, then English is no longer your first language.”

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The online services interpreted for the deaf and hard of hearing allows Northland to connect with the deaf community in their own language, so that they are able to connect more meaningfully in worship.

Northland began webstreaming its live worship services back in 2005 and helped pioneer live worship via iPhone and Roku streaming devices. Up to 4,000 people worship with the church online on any given weekend. Sample the church’s online worship environment at NorthlandChurch.net/worship.

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