For many, the first steps back into life post lockdown will be a time filled with anxiety.
How can we continue to maintain that our Churches are a place of welcome for all ?
Online streaming of worship, discussion and fellowship.
There are many people that are not yet ready to come back into a church building as yet, and for many housebound people the recent online streaming of services, prayer and study groups have made church accessible in a new way. By continuing to upload your services online you are ensuring that those individuals who have become reliant on 'online church' are still able to have access.
With social distancing in place the church building will look different, pews may have been moved: does this increase the wheelchair access? If so, consider keeping the new layout once social distancing is no longer required.
If you are aware of any of your congregation that needs to sit in a certain place then do try to enable this.
Some members of the congragation may benefit from a private tour of the church so they can familarise themselves with the new surroundings.
Structure of the Service
For those that find change difficult, this will be a challenging time. Let the congregation know what to expect in the new routine of the service. Consider sending out an order of service beforehand or have a visual timetable (or PEC cards) running along the bottom of the screen so the congrgation can see what is coming next.
Many people living with hearing impairment rely on lip reading to augment their hearing. This is impossible to do when a refular face covering is worn; if you are wearing a face covering. Consider using a a transparent one/ face shield for key roles. Don't assume that if your building has a hearing loop this won't apply to you - if you are wearing a face covering the sound of your voice is muffled which means the loop wont be as effective. Revd Pat Jackson reflects on hearing loss and the difficulties that face coverings cause.
Church buidings will have signage up to remind people of social distancing, hygeine, one way systems etc. When purchasing or making these signs make sure they are accessible as possible by using:
- Contrasting colours
- Easily recognisable symbols and simple wording
- Both text and sign size as large as possible