The ‘Choir of Angels’ signs the way to inclusion (Luke 5 Award)
Our latest ‘Luke 5 Award’ goes to a children’s choir who decided to learn sign language to help include a member of their church.
The ‘Choir of Angels’ from Sacred Heart & St. Francis parish, Gorton, Manchester, was nominated for the award by Minna Moffatt-Feldman. Minna told us, “I am deaf. I use British Sign Language and speech. I cannot follow hymns or music or speech fully … This [the ‘Choir of Angels’] is a group of children aged 7-16. Without my lead, they have taken it upon themselves to incorporate signing into their songs so I can be included.”
As a result, Minna says she has truly “felt included and become more interested in the sung words and their meanings. Before, I missed out on this part of worship and at times felt sad… It is wonderful how the choir have encouraged the whole parish to be involved and open up awareness even more – indeed the choir have been the role model.”
The Choir of Angels was stunned to receive the award – Minna had kept it a surprise!
The children told us …
Michelle, age 11 – It gives our choir a different touch and makes it way better. And if any other deaf people join, they will feel even more welcome and special. I can't wait to learn more.
Deborah, age 10 – I feel happy when I sign, especially with others. I think it is really cool that we are helping individuals in our parish, as well as doing something that we love. I am really surprised at how the language has grown and how it has become a normal thing in our parish over time.
Isabella, age 7 – Singing whilst signing is good because the deaf will feel included and know what we're singing to praise God. Also, people will know a bit of sign language; that good skill will make people proud of themselves.
Joseph, age 12 – I feel happy that sign language has been introduced to our parish because it helped us learn a new way to help people with a disability (deaf people). Sign language will also help us in the future because we might find more deaf people and they might not be able to lip-read.
Samuella, age 7 – I like signing while singing because it helps people who have hearing problems know what you are saying. I also like it because it will teach people a bit of sign language.
Hope, age 17 – Thank you, God, for showing a different way of getting your Word to be spread to everybody. For truly you are for everyone, and you accept anyone to be in your ever-growing family.
Minna is proud of them and grateful that they have become so aware of barriers faced by deaf people. The choir also use drums and other instruments, often played in a way that Minna can feel the vibrations. This whole experience has really encouraged the parish, who are now all asking to learn some sign language. It’s the plan now to teach them all, and the choir have really led the way. Congratulations, Choir of Angels!
For more information about the Luke 5 award, please contact Janet@throughtheroof.org.