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Church hosts special event with a visit from Bishop
The Bishop of Bradford joined the congregation at St John’s Church in Ben Rhydding for an annual service led by people with learning disabilities.
St John’s played host to the Bradford Diocesan Annual Celebration, which included dance, drama and singing as well as prayer.
Several such annual services have now been held since Margaret Beatham, a member of St John's, was asked to join the Diocese Disability Task Group six years ago. Mrs Beatham, whose daughter, Elizabeth, took part in Sunday's service, said: “The Task Group was set up to provide an inclusive approach for those with disabilities of all kinds, and our first service for those with learning disabilities was held at St Lawrence's Church in Pudsey in 2006.”
Janet Bower, a founder member of the Diocese Disability Task Group, said, “We encourage all parishes to have a parish disability representative and the idea is certainly spreading.”
Last Sunday’s packed church enjoyed music from a band and singing from OBH, the Off By Heart Choir which meets at West Park Music Centre Leeds, each Friday morning. Some songs were accompanied by sign language, with the congregation encouraged to join in the actions. Others were accompanied by percussion instruments, streamers and shakers, giving the event an inclusive atmosphere of joyful celebration.
A highlight for many of the younger people was a Sacred Dance, when those with and without learning disabilities danced together, choreographed by Lynne Wright and friends from Transcendance Dance Group.
Enjoying the afternoon, the Bishop said: “You know, a sentence bishops use a lot is, 'God has called you by name and made you his own'. And this service makes that very real.”
For information about the Diocese Disability Group contact email@example.com.