UVF Graduates Receive High Scores and Ministerial Credentials

by Office of Marketing | Feb 27, 2015
Kinna Smith '14Three University of Valley Forge (UVF) Department of Deaf Ministries graduates received ministerial credentials with the PennDel Ministry Network. Kinna (Franklin) Smith ’14, Bonnie Elliott ’14 and Ebby Johnson ’14 achieved the requirements set by the PennDel Ministry Network, took the licensing exam and received the three highest scores of approximately 70 other people in their exam group.

While at UVF, the three students took courses in Bible history and Assemblies of God doctrine. According to Kinna Smith, one way their professors helped them was through assignments focused on Bible verse referencing and memorization, which was beneficial for the credential exam. Professor JoAnn Smith, Ph.D., Department of Deaf Ministries chair, encouraged and guided Kinna Smith, Elliott and Johnson through the PennDel examination process. “They had the same prep material as their hearing colleagues,” Dr. Smith said. She led a three hour study group outside of the classroom a few days before the exam.  

All three graduates are currently involved in Deaf church ministries. Kinna Smith currently attends the recent church plant Connecting Deaf Church in Norristown, Pa. She is part of her church’s pastoral team and serves as the youth pastor alongside her husband. Her ministry outside of the church includes ministering to a Deaf teenager at another church. Elliott also serves at Connecting Deaf Church as the children’s minister. Johnson is a youth pastor at the Vallejo Deaf Church in Vallejo, Calif.

The Department of Deaf Ministries began in the fall of 2011. The department offers two programs: Deaf Ministries (Deaf students only) and, recently added, Deaf Culture Studies (non-Deaf students only). The Deaf Ministries program trains students for pastoral ministries and prepares students to effectively communicate their worldview and perform pastoral and Christian ministry in the Deaf church environment. The programs are set up with “hands-on creativity,” Dr. Smith said. “Students are engaged and their academic environment is comparable to that of their hearing colleagues.”

As a result of the program, many hearing students have become interested in the Deaf community and culture. As the students grow in their language development, upper-level classes, taught in ASL, will combine hearing and Deaf students. The students in the department have had the opportunity to travel on international missions trips to Peru and Israel. The department looks forward to future missions opportunities and the continual advancement of the programs.