Preach Magazine Issue 1 - Creativity and innovation in preaching - Page 26

26 FEATURE Lynn MCCann is part of the leadership team of The Good News group in Leyland, Lancashire – a church congregation for adults with learning disabilities. ‘Our challenge is really just to teach the Bible and preach the gospel in a very accessible way. ‘There are a lot of communication barriers because people in the group have a wide range of needs. Some have very little verbal language and find it hard to process a lot of language and others have more moderate learning difficulties but they find the content of complex religious language too much to take on board. ‘We have tools that help us. First of all we have to really gather all our knowledge of communication. Some of the team have worked with deaf people. I’ve worked with autistic children. We also speak to the members themselves and their carers about what helps them understand things. So over the years we’ve developed quite an eclectic way of communicating. We quite often use a lot of repetition and visual pictures. We use symbols and signs. We’ve all learnt to use Makaton sign language. I’VE WORKED WITH AUTISTIC CHILDREN. WE ALSO SPEAK TO THE MEMBERS THEMSELVES AND THEIR CARERS ABOUT WHAT HELPS THEM UNDERSTAND THINGS. SO OVER THE YEARS WE’VE DEVELOPED QUITE AN ECLECTIC WAY OF COMMUNICATING. LWPT8173 - Preach Magazine - Issue 1 v3.indd 26 Mike Collyer ‘We always start with a Bible passage and we tend to use the easy English version which you can get on Bible Gateway as a starting point. We might shorten sentences because that pause when you get to a full stop can really help people cope with each sentence. ‘We look at particular words – religious or complicated words – and we will still use them, but then we’ll explain what they mean. ‘When we’ve got that as our basis we’ll then decide on what pictures we need to support this, what signs in Makaton might we use and then try and make it interactive using drama and puppets – sensory things to try as well. ‘We don’t shy away from certain subjects. Some of the more figurative things in the Bible have been difficult so we’ve not tackled Revelation yet: maybe one day. But we do find that there’s so much we can draw from – our people learn really well through story and the Bible is rich with it.’ For more information and to contact Lynn McCann, visit her blog worked for the Church Army’s Research Unit exploring evangelism, spiritual needs and fresh expressions for church among older people. He facilitates the senior action team at Sheffield Cathedral and preaches at his local church. ‘I think any preacher should start where peopl H\