Our board could not be more excited about this year’s Raise the Paddle focus! We are riding on the powerful movement that started years ago, and resulted this past fall in celebrating the installation of our lift.
Our focus is ACCESSIBILITY – ensuring that we are doing everything we can to allow everyone to access our congregational life. We have an extraordinary congregation. We are vibrant and loving. We are thinkers and doers. There is a warmth at Westside, a magnetism of love, and we are learning to expand it – to be more and more inclusive and welcoming.
The board has been learning about obstacles that prevent some of our members and friends from fully experiencing and benefiting from all that we are working hard to offer. Some of those obstacles include an older sound system that doesn’t allow folks to hear our sermons clearly with their audio devices; a web site that is very challenging to read if you have a vision impairment; restrooms that don’t accommodate wheelchairs easily or at all; a chancel with no ramp; and a heavy entrance door to the social hall where people access the lift.
We are also learning about accessibility resources the UUA and other organizations are offering, and we are learning from the experiences of other congregations. Currently, we are engaging in talking with those of us who are experiencing access challenges in our community right now, to understand the top priorities for those folks. We expect to have a priority list and to plan for those priorities with a line item in our budget for accessibility. And we expect to begin one of those projects this spring, with the generosity of our community through our Raise the Paddle fund!
Anyone can contribute to this fund at any time! And we know that our auction will give us a great boost for the next ACCESSIBILITY project to follow the amazing work that brought us our lift. We are a congregation of passion and dedication, and with that, anything is possible!
To contribute to this fund at any time, you can send a check or put a check or envelope in the offering any Sunday, with a reference to ACCESSIBILITY. If you prefer to make an online donation we have a giving account set up for Accessibility on our secure online giving page of our website.
We look forward to seeing many of you at the auction! No doubt, the power of coming together for this goal will improve the access to our congregational life for many people!