Sign Language Sermon and an new Dean Installed

23rd September 2022

St Paul’s Cathedral to mark two significant moments in time this weekend:

First British Sign Language sermon preached at St Paul’s

A British Sign Language sermon will be preached for the first time in St Paul’s this Sunday.

St Paul’s has included BSL interpreted services for many years, but this will be the first time a sermon is given entirely in sign language, with a spoken word interpretation.

The signed service marks International Day of Sign Languages (today Fri Sept 23) when countries unite in raising awareness of sign language, the form of communication used by the majority of the 72 million Deaf people around the world.

It also chimes in with the Diocesan vision for every Londoner – and beyond – to encounter the love of God in Christ.

The BSL Act was passed in April 2022 following years of campaigning, and recognises BSL as an official language of England, Scotland and Wales, and it demonstrates the commitment by the Diocese of London to continue to find different ways for all people to engage and participate in all services.

Baptist Minister and coordinator for London Deaf Churches, Sue Whalley will preach.

Sue began working with the London Deaf churches while on placement as part of her training for Baptist ministry and she said:

“It will be an honour to give a sermon at St Paul’s and use sign language to share my reflections and thoughts on God. 

“British Sign language is the fourth most used language in the UK, with over 125,000 adults using it to communicate. The church is a place for people from all different backgrounds and communities, and it is therefore essential that we are able to connect with all groups of people, including the segment of the population who are Deaf. I hope that this type of sermon is the first of many to come!”

New Dean of St Paul’s installed

The new Dean of St Paul’s The Very Revd Andrew Tremlett will be installed at Evensong this Sunday.

Andrew led the first national service of prayer and reflection following the death of HM Queen Elizabeth when the new national anthem was sung for the new King for the first time.

Andrew takes over leadership at an important moment in St Paul’s history as it seeks to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and play a central role in the rejuvenation of the City of London as workers and visitors return to the square mile.

He will oversee a growing schedule of services and special events, as well as welcoming visitors from the UK and overseas as they begin to return to the capital.

He succeeds the Very Revd Dr David Ison who retired this month after ten years as Dean of St Paul’s.

On his appointment, Andrew said:

“I’m keenly aware that I join the team at St Paul’s at a pivotal time with both immediate and systemic challenges.

“I hope to be able to draw on my experience at other great centres of worship – Westminster Abbey and Durham Cathedral – both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, helping to rebuild life at St Paul’s as the global economy reopens. 

“An international outlook is essential for me, and my faith has been deepened through my engagement with the Missions to Seafarers around the world, as well as a keen interest in inter-faith dialogue.

“The Cathedral also has an important role to play in supporting the Diocese of London’s vision for every Londoner to encounter the love of God in Christ and I am looking forward to working with colleagues and across the Capital’s diverse churches to reach out to Londoners and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”