The primary goal of the People with Disabilities Task Group is to enable our congregation to become engaged, educated, and informed advocates for members and their families and for others living with disabilities.
We provide hands-on experiences that will enrich the lives of congregants and help them understand and appreciate the needs of people living with disabilities. These experiences will help our congregants support and be more sensitive to issues of inclusiveness and hospitality toward our members and their families who are living with disabilities.
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Rochester, Minn. has received national recognition for achievements in welcoming, embracing, and integrating people with disabilities and their families into their congregation, and for disability-related social justice activities in the Rochester community. First UU attained certification through the Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM) Program, which enables Unitarian Universalist congregations to be formally recognized for their commitment and progress.
Few religious communities in the United States offer programs specifically designed to promote greater welcoming and inclusion of people with disabilities and their families. First UU has participated in pioneering efforts as a pilot congregation of the AIM Program to develop this unique program. It is only the fourth congregation in the country to receive the distinction of having attained AIM certification.
Some highlights of accomplishments during the program include:
• Updated SEMCIL Accessibility Report
• Electronic openers on bathrooms and additional doors around the Church.
• Improved awareness within the congregation
• Two worship services: one on Autism and one as part of our 150th-anniversary celebration
• Two UU book club selections in 2015 and 2016 around disability related themes
• Updated webpage
• Provided workshops at Chalice Camp and in RE for children around disability topics
For more information about the AIM program, go to AIM
In September 2015 we commissioned an accessibility survey from the Southeast Minnesota Center for Independent Living in order to ensure accessibility for our members and visitors. SEMCIL examined the entryway, sanctuary, education rooms, staff offices, kitchen, and fellowship hall and prepared an Accessibility Assessment that made several recommendations to improve accessibility. Since that time several no-cost and low-cost changes have been made and the church continues to study the feasibility and cost of larger projects. SEMCIL Audit