The Chaplaincy to the Deaf
The Reverend Charles Dixon is the Diocesan Chaplain among deaf and deafblind people. 8.7 million people in the UK experience deafness, ranging from mild to profound - the majority of these are over 60. 23,000 people are classed as deafblind. Deafness is nearly 9 times more common than blindness or partial sight. This means that in a congregation of 140 there would be 20 with hearing loss of over 30%, and 2 registered blind or partially sighted.
The Revd Charles Dixon
Chaplain among Deaf People
01480 434075 or
Can you recognise the signs of hearing loss?
One of the first signs is denial, often followed by withdrawal from social situations, feeling stupid, and an inability to carry on a normal conversation where there is background noise. Someone wearing a hearing aid may still need extra help.
How can we help?
- Be alert to the problem, look out for someone of mature years who seems to be withdrawing from normal social activities.
- When speaking, make an effort to stand facing the light and to speak clearly.
- Churches should install induction loop systems.
- Ideally learn sign language; of the three types BSL or British Sign Language is the best.
- Above all be patient!
What does the chaplaincy do?
Charles is the parish priest for the deaf and deafblind, combining practical help with friendship, advocacy and raising awareness through the Diocese. By the use of sign language (BSL), regular monthly worship (Cambridge, Godmanchester, March and Soham), Christian teaching, and support are organised. He leads an active team of lay and ordained people who can help and advise on all these matters.
What special help is available to parishes?
Sign language interpreters can be arranged for special services such as baptisms, weddings and funerals. Counselling, home and hospital visits can be provided. Workshops are held on ‘Signs in Worship’. A Deaf Awareness video: ‘The Invisible Church’ is available for parish use.
- Cambridgeshire Deaf Association [External link - opens in new window]