Signs for Worship (SfW) was set up in 2002 in Tamworth by Susan Myatt, based on the vision of bringing Deaf and hearing people together, united in God. Based at Tamworth Baptist Church, members come from all sorts of backgrounds and denominations being represented, all united in their faith in God.
What initially started a simple service soon became a great way to spread awareness of both BSL and Deafness to audiences that had previously had little experience with Deaf culture, and visits to churches, along with signed performances in various venues soon became part of what SfW Tamworth did and continues to this day.
Meeting on Friday evenings, people, both Deaf and hearing are drawn to the added dimension of intimacy with God that BSL brings to worship. Whatever their signing ability, everyone is encouraged to take part. Every meeting is interpreted so that it is accessible to everyone, and it also became a safe place to practice BSL, without fear of criticism, and many have credited being part of SfW for them being able to pass their BSL courses.
In November 2012, Colin Townsend, who travelled each week from Pelsall to Tamworth sensed God’s prompting to set up a new group in Walsall, Signs for Worship Walsall, based at St Matthew’s Church Centre, meeting at the same time as SfW Tamworth on a Friday evening. A lot of people joined who had never used BSL before and quickly their BSL vocabulary grew, and like SfW Tamworth, members are encouraged to ‘have a go’, either with leading a song or indeed putting together a whole meeting.
The demand for learning BSL soon lead to courses being set up, initially at SfW Tamworth through Susan Myatt with Level 1 and 2 classes, and in September 2015 SfW Walsall, in association with MySign Tuition started a Level 1 course , with 21 students completing the course by the following July.
Signs for Worship Sedgley was started by Walsall member Ann Hayward in October 2015, meeting at Sedgley Community Church on Monday evenings. After 13 years, Signs for Worship has grown way beyond its humble beginnings, meeting at three venues, and expanding beyond anything ever imagined.