With everything going on this year, churches and businesses closed, I was starting to guess I would not have opportunity to preach in 2020. In the last few months though, two congregations have asked me to help fill their pulpit. I gladly accept the chance to present God's Word, but I need to be able to access the building as well.
It has been thirty years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA has accessibility requirements for public businesses, but churches are not required to meet them. It is recommended that places of worship make provisions for full access, but they don't have to make changes. That's especially the case with older buildings.
I also received another request from a different congregation for later this year, and accepted with the same clause. My parents were able to scope this facility out yesterday and it is an older building, but has added ramps and an elevator that made it accessible. Therefore, I now have three times I'm scheduled to preach in the next three months.
In many ways, church accessibility is a catch 22. A congregation can say they don't have anyone with mobility issues attend, and therefore don't want to add the expense of modifications. However, without the changes, people like myself are unable to attend and show the need. In the three years I have been licensed to exhort (preach), I have only had one request from a congregation with a completely inaccessible facility. The primary barrier has been getting asked to preach in the winter, and not able to accept due to weather concerns. It's part of the quad life, but I don't like saying no.
Next week will be my first time inside a church building since March. Preaching to small congregations and getting to fellowship with them is something I am eagerly anticipating again. I pray though that more strict regulations don't come again though and make it so church can't meet. I will see what God has planned for the months ahead.