Accessible Faith: A Technical Guide for Accessibility in Houses of Worship

by Elizabeth A. Patterson, Neal A. Vogel. The Retirement Research Foundation, 2003.

Eighty percent of people with disabilities consider themselves persons of faith, yet only 47 percent attend religious services. Why? The authors of 'Accessible Faith' suggest that the reason may reside, partly, in inaccessible worship spaces. Many of our most lovely sacred places were created years ago, when well-meaning designers sought elevated spaces that glorified God but did not seek to accommodate those unable to walk, see, or hear.

This 50-page book provides a concise guide to planning, designing, funding, and constructing for greater accessibility in your church or synagogue—without detracting from the beauty or historical significance of your worship space. Readers will discover ways to make parking spaces, walkways, restrooms, doors, telephones, and water fountains more accessible—as well as suggestions for creating ramps, railings, elevators, and lifts. The book considers barriers faced by persons with physical, auditory, and visual impairments, and emphasizes the importance of good signage that alerts congregants to a building's accessible features. Other items highlighted include tips on covering costs, choosing contractors, establishing schedules, and managing projects.

Here is a valuable resource for congregations needing to become more accessible. Viewable with the free download, Adobe Acrobat, 'Accessible Faith' may be read online by clicking here.