The South England Conference Possibility Ministries Department led by Elder Jacqueline Otokpa SEC Possibility Ministries Coordinator, launched the first Deaf Community Church at a special event held at Ilford Central Seventh-day Adventist Church on the 7th of May 2022.
This was a glorious landmark for the deaf community within our conference.
This event was supported by The President of the South England Conference Dr Emanuel Osei and Wayne Erasmus SEC Church growth and Church planting Director as they attended in person in support of this ministry. Special greetings were conveyed by video link from Dr Leslie Ackie BUC Possibility Director and SEC Teens Director Ps Juan Carlos Patrick. Among various pastors within our conference that were in attendance in support of the launch.
The Deaf community has been working towards this milestone for many years and to finally witnessed their prayers being answered is truly God answers their prayers.
On that day the atmostfare was truly amazing among the deaf and hard of hearing members.
For many years according to some members within this community, they felt isolated within the main streamed churches, to the point, many had left for churches outside the Adventist faith to receive adequate service to their needs.
Today it gives them great delight to have their very own church, were they themselves can come together and plan their services.
With an aim to worship, fellowship, and study Gods word in BSL sign language. Eventually taking this good news of salvation to fellow non-Christian deaf persons beyond the SEC.
To help facilitate this process, Pastor, Vasyl Vartsaba was appointed as the pastor for the deaf. Someone that has a passion for ministry and this work.
Following the launch there will be a monthly Deaf Church commencing on the 11 June 2022.
For more information see:www.secadventistpossibilitiesministries.com
There are many committed and talented and hardworking individuals within this community, as this was demonstrated in Sabbath School and Divine service:
Mandela Davis (Deaf community) started the service with a warm welcome and spirit filled prayer. The lesson study was presented by Elder Anna Virdi (SEC Deaf leader) from the desk.
Praise and worship were led by Marvin Augustin (Deaf Community)
Br Garfield (Hard of Hearing Leader) reminded us in his sermonette to “Let’s Go” meaning let us take the gospel to the deaf community beyond SEC.
Dace Miksite (Deaf Community) blessed the children with a bible story in signed language Interpreted by BSL Interpreters.
Many more deaf members contributed towards making the day a success.
There was an amazing turn out from other churches and possibility ministries throughout the UK this includes a great sense of togetherness, unity, and hospitality within the diverse family of God. Elder Jacqueline Otokpa presented the volunteers and Deaf Area coordinators with an appreciation for their many years of commitment and contribution to this ministry.
There are 11 million people in the UK that are deaf or hard of hearing. In 2017 there were 151,000 BSL users in the UK. Today that number has significantly increased.
Census reports 12 million people in the UK are living with some form of hearing loss that means one in five of the UK population. As devoted followers of Christ we are Commission to go into all the world and preach the good news of salvation to all creation, meaning everyone this includes hearing the deaf and hard of hearing.
We humbly solicit your prayers for this Ministry as we step out in faith, in making Disciples and building Communities for the deaf and hard of hearing.