Following years of theology of deafness based on the premise that Deaf people are simply people who cannot hear, this book breaks new ground. Presenting a new approach to Deaf people, theology and the Church, this book enables Deaf people who see themselves as members of a minority group to formulate their own theology rooted in their own history and culture. Deconstructing the theology and practice of the Church, Hannah Lewis shows how the Church unconsciously oppresses Deaf people through its view of them as people who cannot hear. Lewis reclaims Deaf perspectives on Church history, examines how an essentially visual Deaf culture can relate to the written text of the Bible and asks 'Can Jesus sign?' This book pulls together all these strands to consider how worship can be truly liberating, truly a place for Deaf people to celebrate who they are before God.
Hannah Lewis completed her first degree in Natural Sciences and Theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1993 and her PhD at Birmingham University in 2003. She was ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1998 and currently works as Team Leader for work among Deaf people in Liverpool diocese. She has been Deaf since childhood, is fluent in BSL and has been involved in the Deaf Church in a variety of capacities since 1997. She serves as committee member responsible for lay training on the National Deaf Church Council and is a founder member of DECUK, Deaf Ecumenical Clergy UK, which provides CME for Deaf clergy in the UK.
’... an inductive piece, written from within by a member of the deaf community rather than by someone looking from without and is all the stronger for being so. Lewis breaks new theological ground and, while her work is primarily focused in an Anglican setting, the issues she addresses and the solutions and strategies which she suggests have value far beyond the Anglican context. She highlights the gap that often exists between talk of empowerment and the action that is required to actually bring about the desired change, although any specific structural changes which may be needed to bridge that gap are implicit, rather than explicit in the text. In Lewis’s view, the challenge is not how d/Deaf people can have access to the hearing Church, but how the Church can become an organization that contributes to the liberation of all d/Deaf people. She has set out a strong theological foundation on which to build and has sign-posted us towards what such a Church could look like.’ Practical Theology