Episcopal church reaches the deaf in new ways

From Episcopal News Service:

When the Rev. Marianne Stuart celebrates Eucharist on a Sunday morning in Birmingham, Alabama, the worshipers may be in pews a few hours south in Mobile or more than a day’s drive north in New York.

The hearing daughter of deaf parents, Stuart simultaneously signs and speaks services as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church for the Deaf in the Diocese of Alabama. Her weekly Eucharists are “livestreamed” over the Internet using Skype to allow Episcopalians in deaf congregations without priests to participate in the service at their own locations and receive the bread and wine using reserved sacraments from local parishes. Stuart also sends DVDs of each week’s upcoming Gospel and sermon to about 30 addresses – mostly for individuals, but also a handful of churches that use them during Morning Prayer and one woman who uses the Gospel for a deaf Bible study in North Carolina. Elsewhere, Episcopal churches such as St. James’ in Hackettstown, New Jersey, offer American Sign Language interpretation of their services.

It’s all part of an effort to minister to the spiritual needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing people and is the latest incarnation in a long history of deaf ministries within the Episcopal Church.

Read full story here.

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