First Cong Recognized at General Synod

First Cong Recognized at General SynodA2A Recognition First Cong
 
First Congregational was officially listed as an Accessible to All (A2A) Congregation at the recent General Synod of the United Church of Christ. Rev. Eldonna Hazen accepted the designation during the UCC Disabilities Ministry virtual luncheon and highlighted the work of First Cong's Accessibility Committee and their efforts to bring this to fruition. 
 
The A2A designation is a major milestone for FCUCC, recognition of the efforts of a welcoming body of Christ. This designation is also a touchstone of the ongoing dedication and support needed to sustain a faith community that strives to assure that all are welcome at the banquet and to truly be Accessible to All.
 
Accessible to All UCCDMA2A is awarded by the UCC Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM) to Congregations who strive to become Accessible to All in all aspects of their lives: buildings, worship, education, fellowship, and service to proclaim God’s word to all people. The A2A marker also recognizes a congregation's commitment to being advocates with and for people with disabilities to overcome marginalization and injustice. First Congregational Church - Madison joins just one other A2A Congregation in the Wisconsin Conference and 18 nationally. 
 
Acknowledgment to the Accessibility Committee at First Cong for their persistence and dedication to move the Congregation to:
 
Empower and advocate for individuals of all abilities.
Explore and promote means to make First Congregational UCC's physical structure and programming more accessible to all.
Educate the wider community for awareness and action.
Recognize and Support the role of caregivers.
 
First Congregational UCC has diligently worked to create an inclusive community for individuals living with a wide range of disabilities: mobility, impaired vision, deafness and hearing loss, neurodevelopmental disabilities, learning disabilities, brain injury or stroke, Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, mental illness, etc. As the Accessibility Committee’s Statement of Intent declares:
 
We are an accessible community of faith, and accommodations are available upon request. Through participation in the life of this church, 
we hope that you will share your stories and listen to those of others, 
give and receive support, and feel a sense of comfort and belonging
through the joys and struggles of life. 
 
The journey to A2A involved an intensive audit of the programming and physical structure at First Cong. Converting a solid 1930s building into a barrier-free structure was not an easy task but through the decades, with dedication and support, members have made the necessary adjustments to make nearly all spaces accessible to all. 
 
In addition to overcoming physical barriers, an A2A designation requires congregational programming that advocates with and for people with disabilities to overcome marginalization and injustice, something woven into the very fabric of First Cong.
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