“When I pray I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and it helps me to feel calm and put everything in God’s hands.”
Brenda Hamlin first went to church as a child when her parents moved to Northenden. “I was the only deaf child at Sunday school and the Sunday school teacher included me, which is how my faith developed. I’m still in touch with her.”
As an adult it was important for Brenda to find a church community that was deaf-friendly and inclusive. She is happily settled at St Matthew’s Church in Stretford.
“We have an interpreter on the fourth Sunday of the month and four times a year we have a deaf/hearing service. For me, it’s the social side that is important. A group of deaf people are involved whenever there is a special social event. Some people at St Matthew’s can use British Sign Language (BSL) and so there are several people I can sign with.
“It’s lovely that St Matthew’s think of the deaf people, I don’t have to ask or explain what I need; they already know and are very deaf aware.”
Brenda recently took part in the Growing Deaf Church Leaders (CPAS) course which she really enjoyed. “At first I thought, ‘I’m not a church leader!’”, she said, “but I learnt that I can do anything and it’s important to be open to what God is calling me to do.
“I learnt so much about the Bible as the course was in BSL - in my own language. Because the leaders were deaf themselves, I felt I could ask any question I wanted to.
Brenda also feels welcome at her local church of St John’s Brooklands. “Two different people have sat with me and showed me where I am in the service. One also wrote notes on the sermon for me during the service so that I could understand it. Another said how lovely it was that I was with them.
“I feel God’s love and that helps me to help and love others. I like going to church as I feel close to God when I am in His house.”