At the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB), we understand that each child here is growing spiritually as well as physically and emotionally. We have been meeting these spiritual needs throughout our history. From the late 1800s until 1911, students met for worship and Bible study in the AIDB Chapel, located in the old main building. When that building was torn down to make room for more modern facilities, the chapel was not replaced. Instead, students met in auditoriums and classrooms to study and worship.
It became obvious in the 1980s that this arrangement was not fully addressing the spiritual needs of our students. But by law, state funds may not be used for religious purposes. The AIDB Foundation stepped in to fill the gap.
The Foundation worked tirelessly to raise funds for the construction of Hawkins Chapel, planned as the Institute's center for prayer, worship, study and spiritual counseling. The Chapel also serves as a meeting place for religious organizations, like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and as a community resource for weddings, funerals and special occasions.
The Foundation continues to manage the Chapel's business affairs. The continuing cost of spiritual care for our students is generously provided by support from churches, synagogues and individuals across Alabama.
AIDB's Chaplain and a host of volunteers offer a rich and varied non denominational spiritual development and education program that reaches beyond communication barriers. Braille and large print Bibles and materials are available and the Chaplain is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). Students are encouraged to develop leadership skills in the Chapel program.
Sunday mornings, Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) students begin with an energetic, exciting Sunday School class conducted in ASL. Each lesson has hands-on activities and games that help the students apply the lessons in a fun and creative way. Sunday night, ASD students attend a worship service with time for music and teaching, infused with games and high-tech videos and sound - helping students apply what is taught and add impact to their lives.
Alabama School for the Blind (ASB) students attend Sunday School after ASD Sunday morning, with the same high-energy and excitement as the deaf students. Helen Keller School (HKS) students attend worship services on campus and at the Chapel. The music and teaching involve gross motor movement and hands-on involvement, helping the students of Helen Keller to grow spiritually as well as have fun.
ASD, ASB and HKS students also participate in weekly Chapel activities as well as adults studying on our Gentry campus. The Chaplain is also available for personal spiritual counseling and students may also visit local churches at the request or permission of families.
We invite you to “adopt a student” for our Chapel program to help us provide materials and supplies and innovative spiritual development opportunities. The Chapel also has a number of funding opportunities for equipment, technology and projects. Please contact us for information on how you, your church or organization can support the Hawkins Chapel ministry.