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Worship Where You Want

My church is doing an awesome job of making our sanctuary more accessible — and man is it hard. Expensive, too.

It’s easy enough to get INTO the sanctuary. There’s a curb cut and no-threshold door by the handicapped parking spaces, and that door leads right to the sanctuary. But once you’re inside, where do you sit? Especially if you use a power chair?

Our first thought was that folks could sit in front of the existing pews, or in the aisles, like we always have. That was nixed pretty quickly. For one, folks would have to really crane their necks to see the preacher (kind of like when your flat screen is hung too high). And they wouldn’t be able to see the choir at all. Not to mention the fact that there wouldn’t be room for folks to get by to take communion (kind of a big deal). And apparently the fire marshall doesn’t like people blocking the aisles. Go figure.

Next thought was to simply take out the first few pews, and everybody who uses a wheelchair could sit there. That would be simple, and cheap.

But then someone asked a pretty good question. Where do our members who use wheelchairs WANT to sit when they worship?

I mean, I never want to sit in the front row. Do you? And we certainly didn’t want to create a “Wheelchair Ghetto.”

So we started asking around. And the answer was, “All over the place.”

The Boy and I like to sit halfway back, by the center aisle. Another guy likes to sit right up front. Our friend prefers to sit in the back, on the outside aisle.

Wheelchair users. We’re obnoxious that way.

So what’s my church doing? They’re taking out pews in the front AND in the middle! 

That’s kind of a big deal. Because taking this approach is certainly more expensive. And it will have a big impact on the way the sanctuary looks.  Especially since we want the changes to be useful AND beautiful.

Now we’ll just have to see how everybody handles The Boy’s tendency to “woot woot!” during worship.

Through the Roof

A Blog Supported by the Mosaic ministry of Third Church, ECO

"Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on." (Mark 2:3-4)

About: This is a blog about accessibility, intimacy, and community. About being welcome.  It’s also about bringing up The Boy. He's 10 years old and has cerebral palsy. Also popping up are The TeenGirl, who just turned 13, and The Mom, who is awesome. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.

"Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on." (Mark 2:3-4)

About: This is a blog about accessibility, intimacy, and community. About being welcome.  It’s also about bringing up The Boy. He's 10 years old and has cerebral palsy. Also popping up are The TeenGirl, who just turned 13, and The Mom, who is awesome. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.