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Chaplaincy among Deaf and Deafblind people

The Church of England believes that Deaf and Deafblind people have an equal right to access the life and worship of their local parish and Diocese. The Chaplaincy exists to enable people who are Deaf or Deafblind to play a full part in the life of the Church, at every level. This is achieved through having a full-time Chaplain, supported and encouraged by Bishop of Willesden, The Rt Revd Pete Broadbent.

The Revd Catherine Carlyon (email) has been the full-time Chaplain since December 2014. She was ordained in the Church of England in 2002 and has served in both hearing parishes and amongst the Deaf Community in Devon. She is hearing person who is a qualified and registered British Sign Language (BSL) / English Interpreter. BSL is the language of the Deaf Community in Britain.

Deaf chaplaincy website

Vsit londondeafchurch.com for up to date news, photos and downloads, including information on Deaf Church and parishes with signed services.

The Deaf Church in London

The Deaf Church meets regularly for worship, fellowship and pastoral support, all in British Sign Language.

In West London, Willesden Area

Acton Vale Community Centre, off Beech Avenue, Acton, London W3 7JZ on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 11.30am.

The Crown Centre at The Pavilion, Kingston Playing Field, Chestnut Avenue, Yiewsley, West Drayton UB7 8BT on the first and third Sundays of the month at 3pm.

In East London, Stepney Area

At present there are no BSL services held in the East London area, but it is hoped there will be a regular service by the end of 2015.

In North London, Edmonton Area

At Enfield Baptist Church, Cecil Road, Enfield Town EN2 6TG on the second Sunday of the month at 2.30pm

In the South of the Diocese, Kensington Area

At present there are no BSL services in this area.

There are some parish churches that provide a BSL interpreter so Deaf BSL users can be part of mainstream congregations. The locations and times of these services can be found on the Deaf Church website and newsletter.

The Role of the Chaplaincy among Deaf & Deafblind people

The Chaplain’s role also includes supporting the parishes of the Diocese who have regular BSL users or occasions when they wish to extend their ministry such as the Occasional offices.

It would be appropriate to be on contact with the Chaplain for advice for any of the following:-

  • A Deaf BSL users wishes to attend church or enquire about becoming a Christian
  • When a Deaf BSL users enquires about Baptism and Confirmation to ensure that support can be given in terms of preparation classes and ongoing Christian growth
  • If you are aware that Deaf BSL users will be present at a funeral or memorial service… particularly if they are a close family member
  • A couple wish to be married in your church and are either hard of hearing or use BSL. The National Church has specific guidelines about marrying Deaf people which needs to be consulted before any marriage takes place. (Faculty Office – a Guide to the Law for Clergy (2010) paragraph 16.4)
  • If you have a BSL Signer in your congregation who supports a Deaf BSL user
  • If your congregation wishes to be more inclusive and explore how Deaf BSL users can be welcomed and included in your Church life
  • You and your congregation would like to know more about the ministry among Deaf People
  • Ensuring Parish Outreach events are able to communicate with Deaf BSL users in your parish appropriately.

Here are some written guidance notes on how to communicate with Deaf people. The Signs of God organisation also has briefing papers to aid ministers when conducting the Occasional Offices.

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