Sunday 22ndMarch was a very important day in the life of Lichfield Diocese Church among Deaf People. For the first time in many years Confirmation was celebrated with a Deaf congregation. The Rt Revd Geoff Annas, Bishop of Stafford, came to celebrate Holy Communion and to Confirm three members of Deaf Church at their regular monthly service at St Michael & All Angels, Penkridge.
The Confirmandi are Valerie Stanyer, Gillian Hickman and Evelyn Wilcox with Bishop Geoff, Revd Peter Lees (NSM with Deaf Church and St Paul's at the Crossing, Walsall) and Chaplain among Deaf People Revd Dr Leonie Wheeler.
"It was a very joyful occasion attended by family members and Deaf friends from across the Diocese", says Diocesan Officer among deaf people Dr Gill Meller.
"It was also particularly memorable because many parts of the service were led by those involved in our Deaf Leadership Training Course a pioneering course being developed and delivered in British Sign Language here in the Diocese. After the service Bishop Geoff presented the certificates for Module 6 of the course.
"Many of our congregation have struggled to access information about Christian faith in their own language. Even when parishes make a special effort to be inclusive, being the sole Deaf member of a hearing congregation can be a frustrating and isolating experience. Deaf Church is a vital opportunity for people to have freedom to worship in their own language and according to the ways of their own Deaf culture.
"You may have seen Sign Language interpreters at major events in the Diocese, but did you know that there are approximately 2000 people in Lichfield whose first or preferred language is British Sign Language? We have Deaf congregations in Penkridge, Stoke, Walsall, Wellington, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton, and a Fresh Expressions Deaf Caf at Rising Brook Baptist Church in Stafford."
If you would like to find out more see the Facebook page and blog deafchurchlichfield.blogspot.co.uk or email@example.com