"Reflections" on Accessibility

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Churches have done a fantastic job making their buildings accessible. Access to the washroom facilities entrance is easy. Once inside, the wheelchair accessible stall is clearly visible, and the wide door allows me to get in the stall without difficulty. Grab bars make transfer from wheelchair to toilet easy. Oh horrors! A regular height toilet? For all intents and purposes this problem makes an accessible washroom inaccessible. At least two CRC facilities in my area fit this description.

Anyone challenged with Age-Related Macular Degeneration finds it very difficult to see words on a slide or printed with colored lettering or printed on a busy background. Large font on white or off-white paper with true black ink is very helpful to decipher letters. Depending on the lighting, sometimes I still need to use a magnifier I obtained from the Canadian Institute for the Blind. Our church secretary prepares large print worship guides and song sheets which the ushers distribute as requested. Even with good lighting, large print, and using my magnifier, I can still have trouble seeing. Last fall we visited a church to witness a baptism. With bulletin in hand, we sat in a pew close to the family presenting their son for baptism. I reached for the magnifier to read the worship guide and songs we would be singing, but the church had small lights on a very high cathedral style ceiling. I always get some reflections in the magnifier, so I tilt it to make it work. But in that church no matter what angle I held my magnifier, I could not open up a small space without reflections to see or read anything. It was as though ALL the stars of heaven had come down in a cluster—very beautiful, sparkling stars. The circle of the magnifier was tightly packed with them. Hard to believe such a well lit church could be a problem. I couldn't read anything. Fortunately, I knew some of the hymns by memory.

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