Viewers are to be invited to rediscover the wonders of faith, hope and boundless love in Christ in a special online ecumenical carol service led in British Sign Language (BSL), to be broadcast this weekend.
Five Christian denominations -- The Church of England, The Church of Scotland, The Church in Wales, The Methodist Church of Great Britain, and The Baptist Union of Great Britain (Baptists Together) -- will broadcast the special BSL service on Sunday.
Led by Deaf Christians, the service, for the Second Sunday of Advent, will have the theme of The Magi, and will have translators who will interpret into spoken English.
Opening the service, Veronica Stewart-Holmes, will welcome all viewers and emphasise that they are integral part of the congregation.
She will sign: “The story of Christmas is universal, transcending languages and borders.
“Our service is led by Deaf Christians and brought to life through British Sign Language. Whether you are joining us live for this broadcast or watching on demand, please know that you are an integral part of our congregation.
“Just as the star led the Magi, may this service guide your heart towards the wonder of Christ’s birth.
“Let us immerse ourselves in the story of the Magi and in doing so, re-discover the wonders of faith, hope and boundless love in Christ.”
Tom Pearson, spokesperson for ChristianBSL.com, the organisation partnering with the denominations for this service, highlighted the significance of this event.
He said: “Having filmed the service it became clear that this was a perfect opportunity for ecumenical unity, celebrating Christmas together. I am delighted that five of the UK’s major Christian denominations have agreed to platform the Christian BSL Carol Service at the same time on the same day.”
Pearson continues: "The story of Christmas is universal, transcending languages and borders. In our service the message of Christmas comes to life through BSL, bringing hope and joy to all."
ChristianBSL.com makes Christian content accessible to Deaf people, interpreters, translators, and signers, and has more than 1000 vocabulary videos, along with hymns, songs, prayers, reflections, and readings in BSL.
Hundreds of thousands of people have watched The Church of England's weekly service, with an estimated 7,000 tuning in each week or listening via the Daily Hope phoneline.