Deaf Ministry

One in six people are deaf or have some hearing loss and we want to make sure everyone is included in our Churches. One in a thousand people have more severe Deafness and use British Sign language (BSL) as their language of choice. 

The Ministry with Deaf People in the Diocese of Leeds serves the Deaf community in the areas around Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield and Ripon, and the Yorkshire Dales.

On 3rd September 2022 the Minister with Deaf People in the Diocese, Revd Mark Smith, is retiring after 42 years of ordained ministry, 20 years of Ministry in the Deaf community , and 7 years in the Diocese of Leeds. It is hoped a new Minister for the Deaf community will be in place later this year. 

We have three other active licensed clergy in the Diocese with excellent sign language skills, the Revd Tracey Raistrick, currently based in Keighley, & the Revd Michael Sabell (Deaf, retired) near Skipton , and the Revd Bob Shrine (Deaf Retired) who lives in Halifax. 

There are groups meeting in across the Diocese  who worship using British Sign Language (BSL). These worship services are led by Deaf people and hearing friends fluent in BSL. We are often joined by friends who don’t sign but wherever possible we still provide access as our interpreters translate the services to spoken English.   

There are several mainstream churches where groups of Deaf people attend and qualified, registered Sign Language interpreters make sure Deaf people can access everything.


Sign Language Services 


  • Holy Communion held at Bradford Deaf Centre, 25 Hallfield Road, BD1 3RP at 10.45 am on the fourth Wednesday of each month or as announced. 
  • A BSL Interpreted Service at Fountains Church on the second Sunday of the Month at 4.30 pm. Fountains Church is located in the city centre between Little Horton Lane and Chester street, just next to the Alhambra Theatre. The church is easy to get to via public transport and is a 15min walk from Bradford Interchange. If you’re travelling by car, there are a number of nearby car parks which can be viewed here.


  • Christ Church, Church Lane, Pellon, HX2 0EF provides multiple services. A Bible Sunday on Friday before the first Sunday of the month and Sign Language Led Worship, held on the second Sunday of each month at 6.30 pm. This is a well-attended and popular event serving a wide area. 


  • Lunch and Fellowship held at Mowbray Community Church, Westmoreland Street, HG1 5AT at 1.00 pm on the Second Sunday of each month. 


  • Coffee and Conversation Group Daytime. Times and location vary. Contact the Revd Tracey Raistrick for details. 


  • Services in Leeds are currently suspended. 


  • Occasional services at Wakefield Cathedral are interpreted.

Church Services with Sign Language Interpreter Support 

  • Bradford: St James Church, Thornton, Bradford at 10.30 am on the third Sunday of each month. 
  • Halifax: Christ Church, Church Lane, Pellon, HX2 0EF at 10.45 am on the first Sunday of each month and 6.30 pm on the second Sunday of each month. These events may change time or venue. Please check before travelling. 


Weddings , Funerals and Baptisms

We are keen to ensure Deaf people have access to Church of England Weddings, Funerals and Baptisms in our Diocese. During the period before a new Deaf Minister is appointed to secure an interpreter please contact Charlie Scott in the Diocesan Office.   

We regret we cannot provide or fund interpreters for funerals or weddings etc. not led by licenced clergy in the Diocese of Leeds. 


Your Local Church & School 

We want to make sure every Church is inclusive. Not only does it open the riches of the Christian Faith to Deaf people, but the use of Sign Language enhances worship, and the presence of the Deaf community enriches the Church. We are keen to establish ‘centres of excellence’ in parish churches which are interested in building links with Deaf people. We can also help schools explore the Bible and faith in Sign Language.  



We welcome volunteers with and without Sign Language skills. If you can assist with helping Deaf people to travel to Church events or can offer your communication skills we'd love to hear from you. Please see the contact information below.



If you want to hear the latest news about services and events and Deaf ministry please email charlie.scott [at] and we’ll add you to our mailing list. 



For more information about Deaf ministries in the Diocese of Leeds, please contact: 
Charlie Scott - Ministry and Mission Administrator - charlie.scott [at]
Or visit our website:

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