National Deaf Culture Fellowship Conference comes to UVF - University of Valley Forge

National Deaf Culture Fellowship Conference comes to UVF

Deaf Convention Logo Graphic

National Deaf Culture Fellowship Conference comes to UVF

On June 19-23, 2018, the University of Valley Forge (UVF) will welcome 200 individuals to its campus for the 2018 National Deaf Culture Fellowship (NF) Conference.

Belinda McCleese, NF president, will open the upcoming convention highlighting the theme “The Time is Now.” McCleese was raised by two deaf parents and received her BA degree from Gallaudet University in 1986 and BA degree in Pastoral Studies from Deaf International Bible College in 1987.

As a U.S. missionary, McCleese is a founder/director of Vineyard Deaf Ministries, serving different local Deaf churches in the Assemblies of God. She pursued her MA degrees in Psychology – Counseling and Pastoral Counseling at Trinity College of Graduate Studies and works in the mental health field as Deaf Service Coordinator and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist.”We want the NF to be strong as a support organization for each [deaf] individual and church ministry,” states McCleese.

The National Deaf Culture Fellowship (NF) began in the mid-1980s through the identified need for indigenous Deaf leadership for Deaf churches throughout the Assemblies of God denomination worldwide. NF was officially recognized in 1992 as a Language Fellowship by the Office of Ethnic Relations in Springfield, Missouri. The annual National Deaf Gathering was established in 1989 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“With the help of the Holy Spirit, NF commits itself to the promotion of the following within the Deaf community, while embracing Deaf values: Worship of God, Evangelism, Discipleship, Compassion, and Establish Churches,” according to their website. Currently, over 44 Deaf churches across America can be found on the NF website, all of who support the mission to empower Pentecostal Deaf to fulfill their purpose in serving Jesus Christ. Last fall marked their 25th anniversary.

Breakout sessions will include “How to be Credentialed” and “How to Be a Mentor” along with a number of special guests sharing their experience in ministering to the spiritual needs of the Deaf Convention coordinators include Belinda McCleese, Dr. JoAnn and Rodney Smith of the University of Valley Forge, William Gipple (NF VP), Nancy Tonnessen (NF Secretary), Olivia Bibb (NF Treasurer), and regional officers Debbie Stiles, Thomas Mather, and Dawn Ruthe.

“The ‘How to be Credentialed’ workshop presents a buffet of options for those interested; people attending the workshop will have opportunities to explore a variety of ways in which they can become credentialed,” states Dr. JoAnn Smith, Department Chair of Intercultural Studies at UVF.

The “Mentoring for Pastors” workshop will be led by Dr. Anne Potter, who holds a Ph.D. in American Sign Language Literacy from the University of Integrative Learning, WY. Potter teaches American Sign Language and Deaf Studies at several colleges and universities in addition to her classes as an adjunct professor at UVF. Her workshop will cover steps on how to mentor people of God, based on how Jesus mentored His disciples.

Participants need to be able to sign. Interpreters will not be provided for this event.

To register for the NF Convention and view the schedule, visit

For more information about the Deaf Culture Studies and Deaf Ministries programs offered at UVF, click here.

For more information on the University, visit

About National Deaf Culture Fellowship
National Deaf Culture Fellowship (NF) exists to effectively serve its constituency by encouraging indigenous Deaf leadership within Deaf Churches and Deaf Ministries. It supports Deaf Churches’ active involvement as they pursue their core mission of evangelism, discipleship, and Kingdom service.