The United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM) encourages all settings of the UCCC to be Accessible to All (A2A). Consistent with that goal, the Desert Palm United Church of Christ in Tempe commissioned a seven-person Accessibility Audit Committee to complete an Accessibility Audit of the church premises. The Committee conducted the audit, drafted a report, and presented recommendations to the church council in April.
In preparing this report, the Accessibility Audit Committee incorporated the “Accessible to All” criteria for UCC. The criteria cover the following categories: Attitudinal Accessibility; Communication; Leadership, and Physical Accessibility. Under Physical Accessibility are questions dealing with accessibility to doors, stairs; ramps and curb cuts and walkways; parking; elevators and stairs; restrooms; water fountains; worship space; and classrooms. The Committee solicited information and suggestions from Desert Palm members with and without disabilities, and also obtained input from Senior Pastor Tom Martinez, Associate Pastor Michael-Ann Verziroglu, and the Rev. Dr. Bill Lyon.
Quoting their report to the church council: “Several of the report’s recommendations entail no expense. These projects include: celebrating Disability Rights Sunday; providing training opportunities for the congregation or writing a Breeze article on disability issues each year; amending the training material for ushers and greeters; taking minimal steps to prevent unnecessary use of extra chairs that obstructs wheelchair users during worship; providing training on adaptive materials and strategies for Sunday School teachers; and updating our church website and pre-recorded phone message to reflect the availability of large-print bulletins, T-coil technology, accessible parking, and bus line access.”
The members of the Committee are: Kathryn Andrews, Dennis Brown, Mary Ann Brown, Jim Durham, Bill Kaszeta, Kent Utter, and Jo Vredenburg.