Ministry to deaf persons began in the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York in the mid-1800's with a Bible study at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Buffalo. This was led by a teacher from St. Mary's School for the Deaf in Buffalo. Ephphatha Church emerged from this group and was officially incorporated in the mid-1970's under the leadership of the Rev. Alvin Burnworth. At this time they worshipped at Trinity Church, Buffalo.
Fr. Burnworth continued the missionary work to deaf persons in Western New York begun by the Revs. William Lange and Thomas Gallaudet. Fr. David Greenwood, Administrator of the Diocese of Western New York, was ordained under Canon 9 to serve as priest for Ephphatha in the 1980's. He was followed by the Rev. Betsy Smylie. Ephphatha Church worshipped at Trinity, Buffalo until the mid-1990's, when they moved back to Good Shepherd under the leadership of the Rev. Sarah Rieth. At that time, Sarah Hardy began using the Episcopal Church Home van to transport parishioners and she also began studying sing-language. In 2002, after the departure of the Rev. Sarah Rieth, Sarah Hardy became Diocesan Deaf Missioner and began working with the congregation as the interpreter, parish administrator, and pastoral care minister.
During an interim period from 2002 to 2005, priestly leadership was provided by the Rev. Canon Barbara J. Price, along with the Diocesan Deaf Missioner. The Rev. Judy Breny came to the congregation in 2005 and served for nearly five years.
In September, 2009, Ephphatha Church of the Deaf moved to St. Peter's Church in Eggertsville. This move was precipitated by the departure of the Rev. Judy Breny and was, in part, due to the fact that many of the parishioners lived closer to St. Peter's Church than to Good Shepherd. Sarah Hardy continued as Diocesan Deaf Missioner and interprets all services. The congregation worships with the hearing church, both of which are served by the Very Rev. Canon Barbara J. Price. Services are at 10 am every Sunday.
Ephphatha Church members participate in Coffee Hour and special events with the St. Peter's congregation, always with an interpreter present. Members of St. Peter's are learning to sign, slowly but surely.
Ephphatha Church maintains its own identity as a mission of the Diocese, with its own Vestry, budget, and other structures of governance.