A Church That Goes The Extra Mile - A New Luke 5 Award
Guildford Baptist Church is the latest recipient of Through the Roof’s ‘Luke 5 Award’ for disability inclusion. The nomination came from a disabled member of the church known as ‘Laurie’ who describes it as a ‘fantastic church’ and explains how he has personally been blessed by their support.
Laurie uses a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy and communicates through an augmentative communication device – but wants people to know that he is “more than happy being in a wheelchair and I feel that God has made me like this and it is not wrong.”
Guildford Baptist Church has not only included Laurie, but encouraged him to take an active role. He says, “I am writing magazines, helping out with a special needs group, emailing prayers and talks of services and helping with social media.” As well as supporting him with his Christian beliefs, he also says “They are helping me with my social life such as meeting new people on Zoom to allow me to have better communication skills and friendships.”
The church took the proactive step of asking Through the Roof for a Church Disability Awareness workshop (currently delivered over Zoom) and Laurie took part himself, sharing some of his own experiences. It was indicative of the ‘heart’ of the church that so many people attended the workshop to find out more about how they could each play their part.
You’ll find Guildford Baptist Church on Through the Roof’s online map of churches with a Roofbreaker. Have a look at GBC’s website (www.guildfordbaptist.org) – you’ll find a great section explaining all the accessible features of the church including automatic doors, a lift to all floors, accessible toilets (one with a hoist and adjustable changing bench), a loop system and BSL signers at most services. The church has certainly made the most of a recent building project to improve physical access. There’s also a new coffee house ministry ‘Open Grounds Café’ providing training and work experience for those with a mental health condition and/or learning disability.
It’s definitely a church that goes the ‘extra mile’ to include disabled people.