For many years deaf people in and around Weston-Super-Mare have attended monthly services at Emmanuel Church.

I have been part of the set-up since becoming the Diocesan Chaplain among the Deaf in March 2006.  At that time, services were held monthly on Saturdays at 4.30pm.  Since Easter Day 2007 services have been held on the second Sunday of every month at 3pm.  Afternoon tea follows each service and is a time of social interaction, as well as enjoyment of the food! Whilst many hearing congregations are on the decline, I am delighted to say that our numbers are steadily growing.  Deaf people are prepared to travel many miles in order to access a service in their own language.  As well as attending services (on other Sundays) in their own areas, our folks travel from Bristol, Nailsea, Bridgwater, Taunton and places in between!   I am a licensed Reader (of 26 years) and therefore, a lay Chaplain. We are very fortunate to have Reverends Gill Putnam, Geoff Eales and (until June) Geoff Hobden on a rota to celebrate Communion for us.  Our very own Derek Boardman leads the service in sign language with contributions from the congregation - reading, signing hymns, leading prayers etc - and a voice-over is provided.  After the peace has been shared, the minister leads and his / her words are interpreted in sign language.  All readings and hymns are on overhead transparencies, so everyone is included. Although our services are provided with the needs of profoundly deaf sign language users in mind, we welcome people with any degree of hearing loss plus hearing people interested in deaf worship, whether they can sign or not. If you would like to come and join us you will be assured of a warm welcome. Pam Grottick – Chaplain among the Deaf