October greetings! I hope all is well with you. This coming Sunday has been designated as Access Sunday leading into Disabilities Awareness Week. I think that sometimes we don’t pay much attention to Special Sunday designations unless they are personally important to us or are some of the BIG ONES like Christmas or Easter. But did you realize that the statistics about how many of us will have a disability in our lifetime are really quite concerning.
Here are a few:
- One in three working Americans will become disabled for 90 days or more before age 65.
- About 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire.
- Over 37 million Americans are classified as disabled, about 12% of the total population.
- Almost all disabilities (90%) are caused by illness or accident.
And so, it is very important that churches that truly want their worship, programs, and special events to be open to all, assess their buildings, and indeed all aspects of their property, for their accessibility. The
UCC’s tool for doing this is the “Church Building and Program Accessibility Audit” found on the UCCDM website. Their advice is to first of all “Go through the checklist and the audit to look at your campus, to look at your programs, to look at your sanctuary and your worship services, and decide what it is you can do that costs little or no money.”
We are blessed at CCC to be accessible in many ways—we have handicap accessible parking spaces in several places near the Sanctuary and Kelsey Hall. There is an accessible restroom in Kelsey. We offer large print worship bulletins. I print my sermons for anyone who is visually impaired and requests them. Entrances to the Sanctuary and Kelsey are on one level, and more.
But there is room for improvement, as some of us have found out. The Chancel area where we lead worship and where the choir sits is not wheelchair or even walker accessible. The pulpit is not accessible without stepping up on the surrounding platform. There are no side railings on the couple of steps leading up to the Chancel. Our sound system and our live-streaming set-up (which will soon be updated) have not offered the best means of hearing and seeing during worship.
Let us think about committing ourselves as a church to do that Accessibility Audit and then to follow through with necessary changes so everyone may both attend worship and be fully involved in worship leadership in the future. We never know when it might be each of us who is grateful that we did!
In Christ’s love,
Pastor CandyCLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS WEEk's Newsletter!