Deaf Ministry

Mr. and Mrs. James Stark vacationed in Oregon in 1989 and returned to their home in Renton, Washington, being impressed on the way by the beauty and serenity of the Oregon countryside. Irene remarked to her husband of her desire to move to that part of the county, and Jim agreed to the idea of fulfilling their dream. So they placed their Renton, Washington, house on the market, thinking that it would take several months for the house to be sold. Much to their surprise, the buyer went for a purchase in two weeks. They moved to Springfield in August 1989 and started visiting the churches in the area. Rev. Sam Harvey, the pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Renton notified Rev. George Jones, the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, of the Starks move to their area. As a result Rev. and Mrs. George Jones pad them a visit and wanted them to start a deaf ministry at their church. Irene Stark began the deaf ministry in 1990, but it was not until the fall of 1991 when she was able to devote a full time effort to the work in the Springfield-Eugene vicinity.

Mr. and Mrs. Stark visited many older deaf people and led some of them to Christ and to help others transfer their membership by letter. Since that time eleven deaf members went to be with the Lord. In 2007 they have around 5-9 in attendance. They have a Sunday morning and Wednesday evening Bible study and a Sunday morning and other special event interpreted service such as a women's get-together, men's breakfast and Triple L for seniors - Living Long and Loving it - whenever and interpreter is needed.

Kaufman In November 1996 the deaf members surprised Irene Stark with a plaque thanking her for helping in making their religious experience complete. The 81 year old deaf man, John Kaufman, with his wife came up with the idea of honoring Irene for her five years of unpaid service at the church. He said through a substitute interpreter, Shirley Sieczkowski who had been on the surprise, "You know that sign language is something important to the deaf members of this congregation. This is our lady. Irene had done many unselfish things for the deaf members here, so we deaf have been thinking, 'What can we do to thank her?' And this is what we decided to do." A deaf woman helps Irene in teaching a Sunday School class. She is growing spiritually and is very dependable person. The Starks and others are praying for her to become a church member. They have several deaf Catholics attending the church, because the Catholic Church meets only once a month. There are others churches with interpreted ministries, but they have 1-3 deaf in attendance on a given Sunday. The Trinity Baptist Church has around 5-7 deaf in a Sunday School and 5-10 in the worship service.

In Eugene there was another denominational deaf church that served the deaf community for many years. Eventually they closed up and sold the church building. That church donated $10,000 from the sale to the Springfield Trinity Baptist Church in addition to a set of Old and New Testament videotapes produced by Deaf Missions of Council Bluffs, Iowa. The deaf group of Trinity Baptist Church has been blessed by the generosity of the now-defunct deaf church. They have been using the tapes on Wednesday nights as a part of their Bible study with an attendance of 6-9.

Deaf Class

The Starks are praying that the Lord will send another interpreter or a pastor to the deaf to serve the deaf community. In 2007 the church continues to pay Irene Stark for interpreting the services. The hearing church realizes that this is their work in the deaf ministry.