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Hymnal in Braille

Posted on: January 31, 2002 12:17 PM
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Last month, at HM Prison, Maghaberry, Ireland a new Braille words edition of the new Church Hymnal was officially launched.

Over a year ago the Revd James Harron, chaplain at the prison, approached the Braille Department about the possibility of having the Church Hymnal produced in Braille. He was anxious to be able to accommodate a visually impaired parishioner, Mrs Enid Maxwell, who sings in the church choir at Aghalee where he is the rector. Shortly before this, Mrs Margaret Mann from St Mark’s Parish, Ballymacash, Lisburn, had written a letter to the Gazette pointing out that one in sixty persons of the population of Northern Ireland is either blind or partially-sighted, and that the production of a Braille version of the Hymnal is a real necessity. Like Mrs Maxwell she too sings in her parish choir and has to spend extra time and energy in getting hymns transcribed into Braille so that she can participate fully in weekly worship.

In response to the Revd James Harron’s initial approach, the prison’s Braille Department very generously offered to make Braille versions of the Church Hymnal available to any blind worshippers in the Church of Ireland. The cleric informed Bishop Edward Darling, editor of the Church Hymnal, of the offer coming from Maghaberry Prison and brought him to meet the staff of the Braille Department and the particular prisoners who would be working on the project.

Oxford University Press, the publishers of the Church Hymnal, were subsequently most sympathetic and co-operative in providing a special computer disk to assist in the conversion of the hymnal into Braille.

It is understood that all rectors are due to receive a communication inviting them to place an order on behalf of any blind worshippers in their parish. These would be supplied in strict rotation as orders are received.

Bishop Darling told the Gazette that he had been "greatly impressed" by the willingness of the Governor and Braille Department of Maghaberry Prison to take up the priest’s request.

Article from: Church of Ireland Gazette