Sense, The National Deafblind and Rubella Association

Head Office: 11-13 Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3SR

Charity number: 289868

Patron: Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal


Sense, The National Deafblind and Rubella Association, have developed this special service for churches and congregations who wish to celebrate the gift of our senses and to consider people who are both deaf and blind.

The service is comprehensive and may be used on its own or may be adapted for inclusion in other services. The format follows that of a standard Anglican service and suggestions for prayers, readings and hymns are included, together with supporting information about Sense and deafblindness.

We hope that you will find the service useful and of interest and will be able to support Sense by remembering us in your prayers.

Families of deafblind children that came together over 40 years ago were the start of a charity that now, not only strives to increase understanding of disabilities, but also provides both practical help and comforting support for families of deafblind people. By providing this church service, Sense aims to heighten peoples' awareness of disabilities, particularly vision and hearing loss.

There are more than 23,000 deafblind people in the UK. Sense is doing all that it can with limited resources to ensure that deafblind people and their families have assistance from the early years through to old age.

Sense is seeking to fund the time and resources used in assisting families with deafblind children through the early years. We therefore implore churches that decide to use the service to consider making a donation to Sense or to hold a collection or fundraising event to help us fund this work.

We would be interested to hear any thoughts you may have about the service and any comments received from your congregation.

If you have any comments, are able to make a donation, or would like to receive further information about Sense, please contact:

Alison Holland

Sense, The National Deafblind and Rubella Association

The Princess Royal Centre 4 Church Road, Edgbaston,


Tel : (0121) 687 1564 Fax: (0121) 687 1656


Stand The leader may say

We have come together today as the family of God in our Father's presence to celebrate the work of Sense and the lives of people who are deafblind.

We have come together to offer our Father praise and thanksgiving,

to receive His holy word,
to bring before Him the needs of the world,
to ask his forgiveness of our sins,
and to seek His grace,
that through his Son Jesus Christ
we may give ourselves to His service.

A sentence of scripture may be said

I have come that people might have life and have it in abundance

This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you

A hymn may be sung

The leader may say

Let us confess our sins to God



Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you and against others,
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault,
we think especially today of taking for granted the gifts of sight and hearing,
we often focus on the disability and not the ability,
we are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name. Amen.

The leader may say

The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ does not seek to punish sins but rather to help people to turn away from them.
He shows great mercy and forgives those who truly repent and seek to follow His will.
We ask Him to grant us true repentance and a strength to seek out His will in our lives.
This we ask through the name of His Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.


Leader O Lord, open our hearts

All and grant us a greater understanding of your will in our lives

Leader O Lord, open our hearts

All to love others as you love us

Leader O Lord, open our hearts

All to understand the needs and strengths of those who are deafblind

Sit The first reading

John 16 vv 25-33

At the end the reader may say

This is the word of the Lord

All Thanks be to God

Silence may be kept

A hymn may be sung

The second reading

Mark 12 vv 28-34

At the end the reader may say

This is the word of the Lord

All Thanks be to God

Silence may be kept

A talk on the work of Sense may be given here or at the end of the service (see enclosed information and "Thought for the Day")

A hymn may be sung during which a collection should be taken to support Sense in its work with deafblind people

The collection is presented


Yours, Lord is the greatness, the power,
the glory, the splendour and the majesty;
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
All things come from you,
and of your own do we give you.

The leader may say

Stretch out your love to Jesus Christ. You have won Him!
Touch Him with as much love as you can.
We are together before God.
We are alone before God.
We need each other
But we also need to be alone.
So together but in silence
We will seek God.
Everyone in their own way
Let us talk to Him.
Let us listen to Him.
Let us look at Him face to face.
Let us touch Him if we can,
Alone and yet together.

Prayers and intercessions

(Young people in the congregation could be encouraged to write a prayer for people who are deafblind)

The following prayer may be included

Father we lift to you Sense and people who are deafblind throughout the world.
We give thanks for their lives and their achievements, and we pray for the continued strength of all at Sense.
Help us Father to face up to our own prejudices and learn to truly love one another.
Help us to look beyond the disability to the real person and their gifts.
Help us to understand the needs of those who are unable to see or hear and to answer those needs in a constructive way.
Grant us the opportunity to support the work of Sense in any way we are able.
Father in the fellowship of this parish, you have given us a neighbourhood to serve. You have entrusted us with the sacraments of life, and the service of love, renew us with your spirit, that in worship and in work we may be true to our profession as the mission of Christ in this world. Amen.

A hymn may be sung


The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all, for evermore.


HYMNS - from "Hymns, Ancient and Modern", published by Hymns Ancient and Modern

Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me
Breathe on me Breath of God
Loves Divine all Loves Excelling
Let All the World in Every Corner Sing
O, Jesus I have Promised

CHORUSES - from Songs of Fellowship, published by Kingsway Music

You Shall Go Out with Joy
Father, God I Wonder
Father, I Place into Your Hands
As the Deer
Be Still
Make Me a Channel of Your Peace


"You just haven't got what it takes..." I once heard a teacher dismissively say to a pupil having problems. As I watched the expression of that child I couldn't help feeling that whatever the child did have had been completely wiped out by those thoughtless, devaluing words.

My thoughts go to Helen Keller, a truly remarkable woman, who was both deaf and blind and achieved so much.

In this country more than 23,000 people are both deaf and blind. Official statistics suggest that up to half a million people have both a visual and hearing impairment.

When you consider that 95% of what we learn comes to us through our hearing and sight, you cannot help but think about the enormous challenges faced by those who are deafblind. However we all too easily focus on the disability rather than the ability.

Sense, The National Deafblind and Rubella Association works and supports deafblind people in a range of projects and initiatives throughout the UK. Their work helps people who are deaf and blind gain greater independence and enhances their quality of life. Sense recognises the disability but focuses on the ability of each individual.

Helen Keller acquired deafblindness when she was only 6 months old and had little opportunity to practice the art of communication as we know it. Helen's life thereafter is a testament to her abilities. Encouraged by a teacher who valued her, Helen was an inspiration to all. She is remembered for what she did achieve rather that what she was unable to achieve. At the age of 19 she passed the entrance examination to Radcliffe and graduated 4 years later. In amongst her packed life she had her work published and received a degree from Harvard.

Focusing on ability rather than disability is so often dismissed as political correctness and the latest fad of the voluntary sector. Yet it is so much more than this. At the very heart of Christianity is God's desire for us to accept our freedom to be ourselves. Christ chose the most unlikely group of people to be his disciples. He did not for one moment think about what they would be unable to achieve, instead he focused completely on what could be achieved. Christ's ability to see the potential in people is so well illustrated in Simon the fisherman being picked out and renamed by Christ "the rock upon which I shall build my Church".

People who are deafblind are people first. As it is with all people such as you and I, they neither require nor desire pity. Rather they seek understanding and value, and whoever or whatever denies an individual understanding and value becomes that individual's greatest disability.

I will remember how easy that teacher found it to devalue the pupil and challenge us all to value every member of society as the unique individual they are.

For more information on SENSE see their website at