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Deaf congregation welcomes Mary as their new minister

Reverand Mary Whittaker is the only deaf minister in the Church of Scotland.

Companian: Rev Mary Whittaker with her hearing dog.
Companian: Rev Mary Whittaker with her hearing dog. Andrew O'Brien

A deaf congregation in Aberdeen have welcomed their new minister at her induction service.

Rev Mary Whittaker, the only deaf minister in the Church of Scotland, was inducted to the congregation of St John's Church in Aberdeen and the North Region of Scotland on Thursday.

Mary is originally from Yorkshire but has lived in the north east of Scotland for most of her life.

Her new parish covers thousands of square miles from Perth to Shetland and Aberdeen to the Outer Hebrides and Skye.

Mary said: "I was in a college for the deaf when I first visited a deaf-led church in London.

"After gaining a BSc (Hons) in Life Science in London, I moved to Aberdeen and became a member of St John's Church for Deaf People and have been based there ever since."

Rev Mary Whittaker at her induction service.
Rev Mary Whittaker at her induction service. Andrew O'Brien

Mary started studying Christian Studies part-time at Aberdeen University and completed the Auxiliary Minister Training course in 2011.

She was then ordained into Lossiemouth as the first deaf British Sign Language (BSL) user in the Church of Scotland - and is currently one of only two deaf ministers in the whole of Scotland.

Rev John Ferguson, Presbytery Clerk for Aberdeen, welcomed the appointment.

"Aberdeen Presbytery is delighted that Mary has been appointed to St John's Church in Aberdeen and to the North Region of Scotland," he said.

"Mary brings a wealth of experience to the role and is highly respected among the deaf community in the north of Scotland and beyond."

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