The History of the Free Grace Deaf Church

Free Grace Deaf Church founded in 2000 AD

"Free Deaf Church" came into being in September 2000. "Grace" was later added to the name based on Ephesians 2: 8-9, which is one of the most important doctrines of God's gift to man.

Before the establishment of the Free Grace Deaf Church, there had been several changes of voluntary Deaf eldership/pastorship in the Deaf Christian Fellowship based at Preston. Over the years, in the fellowship gatherings, there was a mixture of deaf and hearing members in the congregation, and they held regular fellowship and Bible study for many years relying mainly on modern versions, the most popular was the New International Version. Sometimes, the hearing members were surprisingly in the majority and occasionally gave rise to a serious problem of requiring a proper qualified voice-over and a sign language interpreter.

During that time the Deaf Christian Fellowship's organisation was being phased out slowly and eventually folded. So they began to adopt an approach of mainstreaming the deaf believers into 'hearing' churches in all their home areas. Many Deaf Christians were being separated and absorbed into different 'hearing' churches and hardly ever saw each other again! This proved to be a deciding factor, which led to the formation of the Free Grace Deaf Church based at Preston.

The effects of the hearing church on the deaf believers were becoming evident as many deaf believers found themselves in the sorry position of lacking true understanding of Bible doctrine and teaching.

Deaf people at a 'hearing' Church does not work

'Hearing' Churches have in many ways shaped the lives of the deaf believers as they were guided by hearing ministers through the various capacity of 'hearing' interpreters. It proved to be totally impractical to keep deaf believers in a 'hearing' church because almost all of the services had serious flaws and drawbacks for the Deaf. They cast a cloud over the true identity and the culture of the Deaf, which they had grown up with since birth. Many deaf believers became disillusioned and even indoctrinated. Some left and never returned again.

It is important to remember that we do not think that 'hearing' churches were all to blame for their failure. In any case, the deaf should not have gone to 'hearing' churches in the first place, because they are not suitable areas for deaf people to attend. Deaf and hearing together in a church does not work, even if they have the best service and offer first-class interpreters and voice-over! It is simply due to the fact the communication difficulties are always bound to happen and always will, because their languages are not the same and many words cannot translate exactly into British Sign Language (BSL for short). Sign language is a visual and pictorial expression which does not always have English words.

Deaf and hearing Christians are united in true doctrine

We therefore decided to come out of the 'hearing' church and formed a group, naming it the "Free Grace Deaf Church".

People will think that it means isolation from other hearing Christians but it does not. Separation from hearing Christians does not imply or advocate the idea of isolation, as many seem to think. We do unite with other hearing Christians and other churches of the same faith and doctrine.

With the statement of faith, these are two of the most important things: the Doctrine of Free Grace and the Sufficiency of the Bible (based on the King James Version, KJV) as a Rule of Faith and Practice; in other words the KJV is the most trustworthy translation so far we have in English. (The 'Bible Versions' article on the KJV 1611 vs the New Translations (Modern versions) can be obtained from the Deaf Bible Ministries webpage).

It is the Deaf pastor/leader's responsibility to feed his flock (congregation) of deaf Christians with biblical truth. The word 'Free' in the church name "Free Grace Deaf Church", also signifies the freedom from hearing influence and dominance, and of course their colloquially spoken language, which Deaf people will never be able to follow.

All Deaf Christians are welcome to join our Bible Study and Fellowship meetings.

Further Information

For further information please contact the Deaf Grace Free Church Leader, Ian Funnell on

Mobile: 07837501458 (text)

Live Chat Skype: Ian.Funnell2

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