Deaf People in the Church

 

Goldings Church has a growing deaf community within our church. Our deaf people join us for an integrated morning service EVERY SUNDAY. The service is interpreted into BSL (British Sign language) by our Pastor's wife, Kim Sandy. Kim is the hearing daughter of deaf parents. We also have another interpreter at the church - Gillian Hawkins. Our Pastor is also a fluent sign language communicator and we currently have a number of people learning sign language! Goldings Church is a place where people from all walks of life are welcomed among us.

Vision

My passion for the church is that we should be an  all-inclusive body of believers.  To me that means that whether we are young or old, black or white, deaf or hearing, we should find ways of accepting each other and breaking down  barriers that divide and separate us.  Only then can our church be pleasing to God. ‘For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.’ Ephesians 2 : 14

 I believe very strongly that in our church we must give deaf people space to be themselves, to worship God together in their own language, and to reflect their own culture.  Deaf people need their own meetings so that they can  develop their own skills and gifts (we have deaf preachers, and deaf worship leaders) . At the  moment we have a monthly deaf outreach service for this purpose and also a deaf home group. However, there must also be a time when we, deaf and hearing, come together, breaking down those barriers that  Satan just loves, and worship God as one complete body.

 I can understand why many deaf people can’t face the thought of being in an ‘integrated’ church and I don’t blame them!  Why should deaf people only be observers of the service?  Why should they sit in the corner and watch the hearing people doing everything?  What is the point of that?  No wonder they feel left out and frustrated!  That’s not real church!

 At Goldings church we have had deaf people lead the service (with voice-overs), they can pray in the service, they can preach too! We have deaf people on the  welcome team, deaf people who collect the offering, and serve holy communion.  We have had a deaf person give the children’s talk, deaf people give testimonies.  We have had deaf people baptising people, and we have deaf members who participate in church meetings and tell the church what they want and how they feel. It’s wonderful!  God has given His deaf people many wonderful gifts and  abilities. 

 Very soon after I became Pastor of Goldings Church  in January 2000 I could clearly see how God was moving powerfully among the deaf people when they were given the freedom to express themselves and develop their gifts.  I am excited about the future and believe very strongly that many churches attitudes towards deaf people are going to be seriously challenged when they see what amazing things God is doing at Goldings Church.

 © Jeremy Sandy 2002 - Pastor of Goldings Church, Loughton