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churchChurchability
By Darlene Hight

Welcome to Churchability! Thank you for coming! We will begin our tour right here in the parking lot.

Hi Bill! I’m showing off your handiwork.

Bill completely redesigned our church from the ground up to make it fully accessible. Right down to the parking lot. Notice, if you will, the extra wide spaces, close to the entrance and on level ground. We wouldn’t want those wheelchairs rolling away without a driver.

Every entrance of the church has been redesigned for full accessibility. Of course the ground floor entrance is the most desirable due to its wide entry and large vestibule. However, every entry has well designed ramps with the perfect incline and handrails.

As we enter the church, please notice the racks filled with Braille printed material. We have a well-stocked bookshelf with Braille hymnals and bulletins. The bulletins of course include scripture passages from this week’s message. We want all of our members to be able to fully participate in every aspect of the worship service.

At each side of the sanctuary is a platform. As you may know a large percentage of our members are hearing disabled. We provide interpreters to the deaf at each of our services. The platforms were built on each side of the stage area to enable these members to get the language assistance that is needed without limiting their seating choices. Each week our interpreters also teach the congregation one signed word. Our word this week is ‘Friendship". This is done to familiarize people with sign language and help break down barriers that exist between our hearing and non-hearing members.

If you will walk this way, I would like to introduce you to another ministry called ‘Sonshine Friends’. The church kitchen is the heart of this special ministry and every month a group of men and women with mental retardation meet here to assemble ‘friendship baskets’.

Hello Jimmy. May I borrow one of these? Thank you.

Each basket contains a small craft item made by the members of this ministry as well as a loaf of fresh baked bread, a small jar of homemade jam, a gospel of John and a church packet describing the various ministries of "Churchability". The baskets are sold to members of our church to give away as "welcome" gifts or for hospital visits and the like.

This ministry is one of my favorites due to its three-fold purpose. Assembling the baskets allows these special members an opportunity to participate in a very worthwhile outreach of the church. At the same time, it provides our congregation with a great tool for reaching out. The ministry is also an excellent avenue for teaching basic skills such as cooking, following directions and working as a team.

Lisa, what do you like best about ‘Sonshine Friends’?

"I like to help people."

That’s great, Lisa. Keep up the good work!

We have many ministries here at Churchability; most of them are behind the scenes operations such as recording audio books for our visually impaired members. One of our members is retired and spends his days arranging carpools for those who aren’t able to drive but need transportation to work. The list goes on and on from a camping ministry to tutoring to grocery shopping. It can all be found right here at Churchability….

Just then the alarm sounded and Susan reached out to silence the annoying intrusion. It took her a moment to realize where she was and that her visit to Churchability had been an amazing dream.

Reaching under her legs, Susan lifted them over the side of the bed and exclaimed, "Wow! That was some kind of dream! I almost believe it could happen!"

With her other hand, she pressed the intercom button. "Mom, are you up? I’m ready to get dressed for work."

Instead of an answer, Susan’s mother knocked gently on the door and then entered the room. Smiling, she wheeled the chair over to the bedside and began what had been her morning routine for more days than she could count.

"Did you sleep well?" Mom asked.

With a sparkle of excitement in her eyes, Susan happily replied, "Yes, thank you. I slept VERY well."


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