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St Paul's sign language service jpeg.jpg
Diocese of London
St Paul's sign language service jpeg.jpg
Diocese of London
World News

St Paul's hosts first ever sermon entirely in sign language

by Sophie Drew

The Diocese of London has hosted the first ever service given entirely in British sign language at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The service was led by Baptist minister Sue Whalley, who is Deaf herself.

There was an interpreter present for hearing members of the congregation. 

St Paul's has included BSL interpreted services for many years, but this was the first time a sermon is given entirely in sign language, with a spoken word interpretation. 

This historic preachment follows the International Day of Sign Languages, marked across the world today as countries unite in raising awareness of sign language, the form of communication used by the majority of the 72 million Deaf people around the world.

Ahead of the event, Whalley told Premier why this service is so important. 

She said: "There'll be a Deaf gain, because usually what happens in a service is that the Deaf people always receive the message somewhat later than that hearing people, but on this occasion, it will be a Deaf gain in that the Deaf people receive the message first."

She continued: "For me personally, I see so many hearing people learning to sign but actually seeing people to sign properly and to a good standard would be important for me, rather than having just to rely on making notes to communicate."

You can read the full transcript of our interview here. 

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