Deaf Ministry

One in six people are deaf or have some hearing loss and we want to make sure everyone is included in our Churches. One in a thousand people have more severe Deafness and use British Sign language (BSL) as their language of choice. 

The Ministry with Deaf People in the Diocese of Leeds serves the Deaf community in the areas around Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield and Ripon, and the Yorkshire Dales.

The Minister with Deaf People in the Diocese is the Revd Mark Smith, featured in the video below communicating the Lord's Prayer in BSL. We have two other licensed clergy in the Diocese with excellent sign language skills, the Revd Tracey Raistrick, currently based in Keighley, & the Revd Michael Sabbell (Deaf, retired) near Harrogate. Diane Colville (Deaf) is our licensed Lay Reader.  

There are groups meeting in Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Barnsley and Harrogate who worship using British Sign Language (BSL). These worship services are led by Deaf people and hearing friends fluent in BSL. We are often joined by friends who don’t sign but wherever possible we still provide access as our interpreters translate the services to spoken English.  

There are several mainstream churches where groups of Deaf people attend and qualified, registered Sign Language interpreters make sure Deaf people can access everything.

Sign Language Services 


  • Holy Communion held at Bradford Deaf Centre, 25 Hallfield Road, BD1 3RP at 10.45 am on the fourth Wednesday of each month or as announced. 


  • Christ Church, Church Lane, Pellon, HX2 0EF provides multiple services. A Bible Sunday on Friday before the first Sunday of the month and Sign Language Led Worship, held on the second Sunday of each month at 6.30 pm. This is a well-attended and popular event serving a wide area. 


  • Lunch and Fellowship held at Mowbray Community Church, Westmoreland Street, HG1 5AT at 1.00 pm on the Second Sunday of each month. 


  • Coffee and Conversation Group Daytime. Times and location vary. Contact Deaf minister for details. 


  • Holy Communion held at St Gemma’s Hospice Chapel, 329 Harrogate Road, Moortown, LS17 6QD at 6.30 pm on the First Sunday of each month. 

Church Services with Sign Language Interpreter Support 

  • Bradford: St James Church, Thornton, Bradford at 10.30 am on the third Sunday of each month. 
  • Halifax: Christ Church, Church Lane, Pellon, HX2 0EF at 10.45 am on the first Sunday of each month and 6.30 pm on the second Sunday of each month. These events may change time or venue. Please check before travelling. 

Your Local Church & School 

We want to make sure every Church is inclusive. Not only does it open the riches of the Christian Faith to Deaf people, but the use of Sign Language enhances worship, and the presence of the Deaf community enriches the Church. We are keen to establish ‘centres of excellence’ in parish churches which are interested in building links with Deaf people. We can also help schools explore the Bible and faith in Sign Language.  


We welcome volunteers with and without Sign Language skills. If you can assist with helping Deaf people to travel to Church events or can offer your communication skills we'd love to hear from you. Please see the contact information below.


If you want to hear the latest news about services and events and Deaf ministry please email mark [at] and we’ll add you to our mailing list. 


For more information about Deaf ministries in the Diocese of Leeds, please contact: 
The Revd Mark Smith 
mark [at]
Phone/text 07702 269608
Or visit our website:

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