by Howard Guetherman, Chair of disAbilities and member of Health & Caring Committee
How many United Methodist Churches of the Desert Southwest Conference have found a new way to continue worshiping together electronically during this current COVID-19 Virus Pandemic? Had you considered doing your worship services this way before you were forced to change during the coronavirus shut-down? How much has it cost your church to switch to digital remote services? Or … Did any of our churches have to stop all forms of worship?
As the church, there are all kinds of challenges, or opportunities we may face. You might say that there are no steps into your worship center. Yet there are many different disabilities that have no connection with visual physical barriers.
Maybe you have no steps but do you provide printed copies of the message or at least notes? Do you offer large print hymnals and or Bibles? If you show videos, are they captioned? Might the music be just a little loud for some? Have you asked your parishioners who may have some type of visual or hidden disability, if there were suggestions on how your church could improve their worshiping experience?
Does everyone who has something to say, whether reading scripture, or making announcements during the worship service use a mic?
Let’s not go back to the way it used to be. Continue to video the service so folks who for whatever reason cannot attend in person, can go on-line to see and hear the message of the day. No matter how many people come to your physical church for worship, remember, “There is room for more.”
Include persons who have both seen and unseen disabilities in the planning of all ministries and events. Ministries planned and run only by folks without disabilities cannot see what is missing. Everyone’s voice is important.
Click on the article below about what folks who have any type of disabilities have to say they would like their churches to do from now on.