Fun Equipment Aids Ministry at University Heights UMC
Ways to engage and encourage all children to “come to church” were met with accessible playground equipment at University Heights United Methodist Church.
Children and teens with disabilities had struggled to participate in worship services. For example, some of them have sensory and behavioral needs. Through an $830 grant from the Disability Ministries Committee of the UMC, their church created safe and accessible spaces. Church member Mike Hilgert shared, “With the funding, a playground was equipped with sensory equipment. It is for activities and games and teaching appropriate calming behaviors if over-stimulated.” The items are especially helpful for youth with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In addition to benefiting this Indianapolis congregation, Siloam Ministry for Supportive Service’s helps the local community. The new ministry is off to a good start in their goal to be inclusive to all. Hilgert says, “One child on the Autism spectrum loves the flying saucer swing. He spends most of the ministry hour on it.”
Once the Covid 19 pandemic subsides, the congregation looks forward to in-person activities again. Then, they believe their Siloam ministry will be sustainable and continue to grow.
Platform Lift in Cadiz UMC Sanctuary
“You will never know how much we appreciate the $1000 that we were awarded. It will help make this lift available to our immediate church family,” wrote LaNell E Bell. For example, now the congregation can fully include the 10% of their congregation with mobility limitations. After the lift was installed, more members participate in worship, leadership and choir.
In addition, Cadiz which is located in Kentucky, hosts several groups. Now, regular youth and self help meetings, special events and other community activities are more accessible.
First United Methodist Church in Mena, Arkansas
“I have a spinal cord injury and am confined to a powerchair,” Joe Mannon, a Mena UMC Arkansas, congregant shared. “Opening a door can require quite a bit of physical exertion. In addition, the automatic door has made my life easier. Thus, it prevents isolation, eliminates embarrassment, discomfort and fear. I can enter the same as everyone else.” Also, Joe said people carrying books and families with small children in tow have benefited. The Disability Ministries Committee funded $700 of the $1500 pad style door opener.
Flames of Faith & Principio Churches
Flames of Faith UMC in West Fargo, North Dakota made repairs to their lift, using a $700 grant. Principio UMC in Perryville, Maryland used DMC funds for a lift. Both churches are accessible on multiple levels. ”Since the lift was installed, members that could not climb the steps have returned,” member Kitty Abers reported.
St Andrews UMC in Orangeburg, South Carolina
“We have several members who use walkers or canes,” said Ronald Tumblad at St. Andrews.” An ADA compliant facility makes it easier for members and visitors to use the rest room. For instance, we have a member who in the past was wheelchair bound.” Before the renovation, he could not attend services. “Because,” Tumblad said, “we did not have bathroom facilities to accommodate him.” DMC contributed $500 toward the ADA compliant bathroom.