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Fulfilling his Heart's Desire

by Michael Ford last modified 16 Oct, 2019 01:57 PM

On October 5th, the Revd Neil Robinson was licensed as our Diocesan full time Minister with Deaf & Hard of Hearing (HoH) People.

Here he shares his thoughts on the day:

"Traditionally, hearing ordained priests were licensed to take up deaf ministry over the years and were able to communicate with deaf people in sign language. I am privileged to be the first deaf British Sign Language (BSL) user to be licensed as Chaplain.

"The members of Bridport Deaf Club witnessed me as I was licensed as Minister with Deaf & HoH People. Bishop Karen of Sherborne attended the Deaf Club to preside the licensing service, and it was a new experience for her to meet deaf people and to learn about how the signed service works.

"I must admit that I was a little nervous before the service began, but I felt confident during the service. I used the visual aid to help the deaf congregation to understand the Gospel through sign language and simple coloured papers."

The Revd Gill Behenna, Neil's counterpart Chaplain in the Bristol Diocese, was present to assist with the communication, as she is a qualified registered BSL-English Interpreter.

"She told me that she felt privileged to take part in this service because I am her friend and colleague," Neil said.

"How did I feel about officially becoming a full time Chaplain with Deaf & HoH People?

"Honestly, I did have a heart’s desire to work full-time with the deaf community for a long time, but I knew that I had to trust God for the right time to enter into the full-time ministry.

"I recall God calling me 3 times to enter the ordained ministry, and in the end I surrendered myself to His plans. The journey into the full-time work with the deaf community was not easy because it took me 3 years to win the trust of the deaf community!

"Today I can confidently say that I am so glad that I went into the right direction, but I still have a lot to learn about myself while I do the ministry. I do thank the Lord for His faithfulness and encouragement and also those who have prayed for me during my journey."

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