New Chaplain amongst the Deaf Community

The Diocese of Oxford is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Chaplain amongst Deaf People. The Revd Dr Hannah Lewis will join the diocese and the Oxford Diocesan Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODCD) at the end of January.

The role of the Chaplain amongst the Deaf Community is to provide pastoral and spiritual care for all members of the deaf community and support them to play a full part in the life of the Church, in particular the church in the parish in which they reside and with the Deaf Churches.

The Revd Dr Hannah Lewis will be an advocate for the deaf community, working with our bishops, clergy, diocesan staff, church and parish leaders, congregations, and local deaf centres and communities to find new ways of being church, improving church facilities for the deaf, developing outreach and reflecting the needs and views of deaf people across the diocese in the Thames Valley.

The Diocese of Oxford celebrates the inclusion, contribution, and ministry of deaf and disabled people, recognising that the church community is only complete when all are welcome. This important Chaplaincy role supports the diocese to tackle the barriers facing deaf and hard of hearing people in the Church, to continue to develop the Church as a place that is accessible to all people, and to learn from one another to become a more Christ-like Church.

a headshot of the Revd Dr Hannah Lewis smiling and looking away to the left

The Revd Dr Hannah Lewis shares her hopes for the chaplaincy role:

“I am looking forward to meeting people across the Diocese of Oxford, building new partnerships with parishes and churches, and exploring opportunities to grow the deaf church in places where it hasn’t been for a long time.

“It is not just people who are part of the deaf community that benefit from chaplaincy and it’s not just for those who go to church either. What I love about ministry is the challenge of going into a new place and meeting those people who may have had a negative experience or no experience of church at all and helping them to realise God’s love for them and know his presence in their lives.”

The Revd Dr Andrea Russell, Director of Formation for Ministry in the Diocese of Oxford, said:

“This is an exciting and important chaplaincy role in the diocese, and I am looking forward to welcoming Hannah. Hannah’s wealth of experience working with the deaf community and her knowledge of deaf liberation theology will be an excellent asset to our ministry in the diocese, helping us to further develop and adapt our work with the deaf community as it continues to change and grow.”

Reflecting on the appointment, His Honour Christopher Tyrer DL, Chair of the Oxford Diocesan Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, said:

“I am delighted that Hannah is joining us in the diocese to help the hearing impaired to flourish and make a valuable contribution to church life. The ODCD is looking forward to working with Hannah to continue to raise awareness among the hearing community of the challenges facing people in the deaf community, promote inclusion and access for the deaf community and enable them to achieve their full potential and participation in the mission of their parishes, deaneries and of the Diocese.”

About the Oxford Diocesan Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The ODCD aims to promote the spiritual, social and general wellbeing of those who are deaf or hard of hearing in the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. The deaf community includes all people who are deafened, hearing impaired and hard of hearing as well as the deaf blind.

About the Revd Dr Hannah Lewis

Prior to joining the Diocese of Oxford, Hannah was an Interim Minister in the Diocese of Liverpool and Pioneer Minister among the Deaf Community there.

Hannah studied Theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, trained for ministry at Queens College, Birmingham and was ordained in the Diocese of Lichfield in 1997 before completing her doctoral studies at the University of Birmingham. Hannah later published her thesis in deaf liberation theology in 2007.