Deaf Ministry
eucharist for the deaf - September 8

Our vision in offering a service specifically for Deaf people is similar to the vision which led Thomas Cranmer and others to create the first Book of Common Prayer. Issued in 1549, it gave people in the Church of England a program of worship in their own language (rather than in Latin).  This vision was reiterated in the 39 Articles of Faith adopted by the Episcopal Church in 1801, which states: “It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people” (BCP, p.872 – XXIV. Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as the people understandeth).  Our ancestors in the faith believed that all people had the right to read the Scriptures and to worship in a language they understood.  Deaf people also have this right, and the Churches must find creative ways to give them access to God’s Word and the Church’s Sacraments. 

We have designed a simple liturgy in “the language of the people” (in this case, American Sign Language) that will be accessible to all Deaf people, regardless of their proficiency in English, and that will reflect the ways of relating that are common in the Deaf community.  (Among the various types of disabilities, deafness is unique because Deaf people share a unique language and culture, unlike any other group.)  This liturgy is simpler and easier to understand, less wordy and easier to follow, and engages the congregation in dialogue.  It is an experimental liturgy and will be adapted as needed to meet the needs of a Deaf congregation.

We are adapting the worship of the Church to the language and culture of the Deaf in order to bring the Good News of the Gospel to those who have no way of hearing it.  Deaf churches are few and far between.  They are invariably small and poor, and receive little attention and support from the hearing Church.  We want to thank St. Boniface for making this service possible and for giving us the space to worship in our own language and culture.  We plan to offer a Deaf service on the first Sunday of each month in the hope that we can attract and build up a small congregation of the Deaf here at St Boniface.

eucharist for the deaf - September 8

Our vision in offering a service specifically for Deaf people is similar to the vision which led Thomas Cranmer and others to create the first Book of Common Prayer. Issued in 1549, it gave people in the Church of England a program of worship in their own language (rather than in Latin).  This vision was reiterated in the 39 Articles of Faith adopted by the Episcopal Church in 1801, which states: “It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people” (BCP, p.872 – XXIV. Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as the people understandeth).  Our ancestors in the faith believed that all people had the right to read the Scriptures and to worship in a language they understood.  Deaf people also have this right, and the Churches must find creative ways to give them access to God’s Word and the Church’s Sacraments. 

We have designed a simple liturgy in “the language of the people” (in this case, American Sign Language) that will be accessible to all Deaf people, regardless of their proficiency in English, and that will reflect the ways of relating that are common in the Deaf community.  (Among the various types of disabilities, deafness is unique because Deaf people share a unique language and culture, unlike any other group.)  This liturgy is simpler and easier to understand, less wordy and easier to follow, and engages the congregation in dialogue.  It is an experimental liturgy and will be adapted as needed to meet the needs of a Deaf congregation.

We are adapting the worship of the Church to the language and culture of the Deaf in order to bring the Good News of the Gospel to those who have no way of hearing it.  Deaf churches are few and far between.  They are invariably small and poor, and receive little attention and support from the hearing Church.  We want to thank St. Boniface for making this service possible and for giving us the space to worship in our own language and culture.  We plan to offer a Deaf service on the first Sunday of each month in the hope that we can attract and build up a small congregation of the Deaf here at St Boniface.

Last Published: August 26, 2019 11:50 AM