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Disability Ministry: Providing BSL interpretation

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In 2022, BSL became an official language of the UK.  There are around 87,000 BSL communicators in the UK with probably about 25,000 of these living in London.  There are several Deaf churches in London with Deaf lay leadership and although many Deaf Christians belong to fellowships where the principle language is BSL, there are also BSL communicators who seek to belong to their local church if interpreters are provided.  As you will also have Deaf residents in your parish you may be asked to conduct funerals, weddings or baptisms for families in which there are Deaf members who require BSL interpreters.

At the bottom of this page are links to guidance documents about working with interpreters for services and occasional offices.

Finding interpreters

Interpreters can be found through several national databases.

The National Register of Communication Professionals with Deaf and Deafblind people: www.nrcpd.org.uk

The Association of Sign Language Interpreters: www.asli.org.uk

Both these organisations have databases that are searchable by regions or postcodes.

Signs of God has a searchable database of Christian interpreters that are familiar with Church services. They are also happy to send interpreting requests to their members: www.signsofgod.org.uk

The cost

Often, for longer services, two interpreters will be required.  Although engaging interpreters will incur a cost, this should not be passed onto the family. Covering this cost should be viewed as part of the church’s ministry of grace to those who can only engage with the Gospel message of hope that we share through BSL.

For more support with working with interpreters or developing a BSL ministry in your church, please contact John Beauchamp – john.beauchamp@nulllondon.anglican.org

Guidance documents

General Guidance: working with BSL interpretersDownload
Weddings: working with BSL interpretersDownload
Funerals: working with BSL interpretersDownload
Baptisms: working with BSL interpretersDownload
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