This post was inspired by an initial misreading of a post from the Archdruid over at the Beaker Folk blog. The good lady had written a piece about her experience of worship at a church service yesterday and her bafflement at why they sang rather than read the Gospel. I thought the post was called ‘signing the Gospel’ rather than ‘singing the Gospel’. You can read her musings for yourself.
I want to say a big thank you to all those who give their time, gifts and energies to serving the deaf communities of our parishes through the ministry of Signing. I have over the last few years been involved in training for lay and ordained ministry those who have a particular calling to this ministry and they have challenged and enriched the wider body of staff and students through this distinct vocation. Part of my role with Chelmsford diocese involved planning various major celebration and licensing services in the cathedral and we always made sure the preacher submitted a text well in advance for the signers to work with.
All the main events at Spring Harvest are signed by a fantastic team from Signs of God who make the worship and teaching more accessible for our deaf sisters and brothers. I sometimes sit with the signers in my sight line and am fascinated by way they interpret the speaker. +Pete Broadbent once set the signers a demanding task as he launched into a discourse with some heavy theological phrases around the theme of eschatology during his Bible readings. The signers coped brilliantly and I’m tempted to say they made it more intelligible for me but I might want a ministry gig in Willesden one day so I will say no more.
Yesterday we celebrated Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the rich diverse multitude of people gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2). One feature of that great event was that people of different tongues understood the disciples’ preaching in their own language. Signers have a Pentecost ministry as they enable those they serve to hear/see the Good News of Jesus Christ in their own tongue. I’m not sure what I think about singing the Gospel rather than reading it in worship but signing the Gospel is an essential work for the Kingdom of God.
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