Revd Mark Smith to preach at Bradford Cathedral ahead of International Week of the Deaf People 2021

The Rev Mark Smith – Vicar of Rawdon – will be preaching the sermon at Bradford Cathedral’s 10:30am ‘Creation 3’ service on Sunday 19th September, ahead of the International Week of the Deaf People 2021.

People can attend the service, or it is streamed online via YouTube.

Anna, Mark’s wife, will also be providing BSL interpretation of his message 

About the Revd Mark Smith

The Revd Mark Smith is Vicar of Rawdon (near Leeds Bradford airport) and the Diocesan minister among Deaf people.

He was born in Liverpool and found Christ as a teenager. He had early experience in the North East as “detached youth worker” as one of the first pilots for this approach to the Youth work in the UK. He was ordained in Sheffield Diocese in 1980 and served there in 1980 in three parishes in deprived areas, before taking up a post with CPAS in Yorkshire and the North East with an evangelism focus which brought him into regular contact with Bradford Cathedral and other Bradford churches.

He then took a post with the Church Army to head up the Certificate in Evangelism Studies, accredited by the University of Leeds, and used to deliver lay evangelism training to lay evangelist across the England in Anglican Dioceses, Baptist churches and a few catholic dioceses. During this time Mark established training centres, wrote course materials, and promoted rich and dep understanding of evangelism.         

During this post at around the year 2000 Mark had a vision at a Christian conference, in which Jesus came to him and signed to him in British Sign Language (which he did not yet know) –yet somehow he understood what Jesus was saying  and this was the start of his call to minister in the Deaf signing community.

Photo courtesy of stpeterschurchrawdon.co.uk

He served for a short while as honorary chaplain to the Deaf community in Sheffield diocese and the for eleven years as Chaplain to the Deaf community in Derby before moving to the newly forming Diocese of Leeds (his appointment was one of the last acts of the Diocese of Bradford).

Mark has overseen and supported British Sign Language Deaf congregations in Leeds, Bradford, Barnsley, Halifax, and Harrogate as well as supporting parish churches which provide sign language interpreters for deaf members.

During the COVID pandemic, Mark and his wife Anna, have produced weekly video services with BSL subtitles and English voiceover for Deaf and hearing people in West Yorkshire but which have also been widely used across the UK in many dioceses

Anna is a freelance BSL interpreter, and former teacher of the Deaf (MA in Deaf education) and Trustee of a national Christian Deaf Charity, and also deeply involved in a project to translate the Bible into British Sign Language (despite the Bible being translated into many languages Deaf people are still waiting for an authoritative translate of the whole Bible into British Sign Language).

You can find out more about the International Week of the Deaf People 2021 (and International Day of Sign Languages 2021) on their website and more about the Deaf Church online.

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