Accessibility means ACCESS!

Sunday, September 20th we will celebrate the great work of the First Cong Accessibility Committee. This congregation has been attentive to, and continues to be attentive to members and visitors who find worship, worship space, or programming to be a challenge in some way. Often we think accessibility means only those who have physical hurdles to overcome. Although the church is aware of those forms of accessibility, the committee likes to look at all the ways accessibility is important. The committee continues to work on all aspects of accessibility, but each year the church is committed to setting aside one Sunday to focus, in worship, on one of the many areas of accessibility. In the past, the worship has focused on physical needs and mental health. This year the worship will center on caregiving.

We might ask why caregiving would fall under the umbrella of accessibility. Caregiving presents all kinds of accessibility issues. When one becomes a caregiver, the individual providing care often loses their own identity.  If the caregiver attends worship with the person with whom they provide care, they can easily lose their ability to worship with the community because they have become so centered on the needs of the person. Caregiving is a beautiful and loving relationship with another person that can deplete the individual providing care. Often the care involves a family member. It can be a parent, child, sibling, or in some cases a more distant relative. How do caregivers access a community, if pre-occupied with caregiving?

How can we, as a congregation, be more attentive to the needs of caregivers? How can we assist both the person needing care and the person providing care? The questions can be answered in a very general way, but each relationship is situation specific. We, as a congregation, should do our best when we recognize the caregivers in our midst to ask how we can provide the best support for each individual. Recently First Cong has started a Caregiver Support Group. This group meets the last Sunday of the month shortly after worship.

Come to worship this Sunday, when we will hear from two members of First Congregational, who will talk about caregiving in very personal ways. Marsha Hall and Amy Whitehead will talk about how they have, or continue to experience, caregiving. They will address how the joys and challenges of caregiving have impacted their lives and faith. They will also, from first-hand knowledge, be able to help us understand what is helpful and not-so-helpful.

We give thanks for Marsha and Amy, who are willing to share their experiences, and we give a huge THANK YOU to the members of the Accessibility Committee, who hold up the mirror, so we all might reflect the love and care of the community. Accessibility Committee members include: Ruth Benedict, Kim Fisher, Karen Gussert, Anne Karch, Chris Schoenwetter, Jeanne Tyler, Amy Whitehead, and Jeff Rabe.

 

~ Eldonna Hazen

 

Posted on September 15, 2015 at 10:58 am in Featured Content.

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