Signing praise

Mary Carson

12.5.2017 | Social Witness, Mission

Kinghan Church on Belfast’s Botanic Avenue, celebrates its 160th anniversary of its ministry to the deaf and hard of hearing community later this month. Mary Carson writes about her love of the church and the community there.

I joined Kinghan Church at the age of eight.  Every Sunday from the local deaf school we walked to Kinghan Church for our weekly service.  There was no Sunday school available at this time, as well as no family attending the services.  This gave us an opportunity to meet other deaf children from the other deaf school.

As a young adult I had gone on day trips on the train to Portrush, which was arranged by Dr. Allan.  There were also parties arranged at Halloween and Christmas, this provided excellent fellowship and times of great fun and laughter with other deaf people.  Things were beginning to open up and we could see some changes.

Integrating and interacting

I had met my husband Tom at Kinghan Church, not long after we married we had two children, both are hearing and were baptised in the church.  The congregation at that time was very mixed both old and young.  Quite a lot of my friends and I had married and had our children around the same time.  The Kinghan Church had given us the chance to let our families integrate and interact.

We met at church services, events, youth club, Sunday school, day trips and holidays, bringing in the schoolchildren from Jordanstown Schools on the Kinghan Church minibus for youth club and the Sunday School. My late husband was a member of the Kinghan Church Bowling Club, which is still going strong to this day.  These opportunities gave us the chance to broaden our skills and knowledge as well as continuing to build our fellowship.

Although the congregation’s dynamic was changing, as my friends and I became grandparents, we brought our grandchildren to help teach them the work of Lord as a family - again integrating and interacting with them and keeping the fellowship strong.  This was very different in my childhood days, as it's special having your family with you at times of worship.

Tom and I had and have continued to attend Kinghan Church. With modern technology I am so pleased with how this has brought things on, such as PowerPoint slides, modern day praises shown with subtitles, as well as the use of old hymns. 

Sense of pride

Kinghan Church Choir shows how deaf people can be seen praising the Lord and all his good works.  We also have plays and dramas, which are very visual without too many words - I have never been so proud to be a member of the Kinghan Church.

Mary Carson has attended Kinghan for most of her life.

The 160th anniversary service will take place at Kinghan Church, Botanic Avenue, on Sunday 21st May at 11am. The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rt. Rev. Dr. Frank Sellar, will be the guest speaker. All welcome.

Read more about the forthcoming celebration in this news story here.

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