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UK News

As church singing ban extended, Woking church takes issue into their own hands

by Donna Birrell

Woking United Reformed Church has found a creative way to sing during worship despite coronavirus restrictions currently preventing congregational singing.

At the beginning of the lockdown in March last year, the church established a 'signing project' with a Makaton expert who has been teaching the congregation a sign a week during each service.

The lessons paid off when the entire congregation used Makaton to sing at an all age service last weekend.

Rev Lucy Brierley, minister of Woking URC, said: "It was wonderful to see everyone but one of the things that made it really special and a positive experience for our members was being able to show what we've been learning during our signing project.

"With the service full of young people and children I had the challenge of ensuring the worship was engaging enough to 'keep' them even though they couldn't leave their seats or sing.

"I was delighted to see them all engaging with the songs through signs, and it was a beautiful sight to see those gathered joining in unison, signing the words along to the music."

Rev Brierley told Premier she hopes Makaton will now be a regular part of worship at the church.

"I think what we'll find in the church eventually is that some people will find this a really helpful way of adding to their worship," she said. "Just as we all learn in different ways, so we all worship in different ways and for some people using their hands as an expression of their worship, will be really useful going forward." 

Makaton uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It is designed to help hearing people with learning or communication difficulties.

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