First Unitarian Church is working to make the building and congregation more accessible to all members of our community. Below is information regarding physical and communication accommodations that First U is currently able to provide.

Public Transportation
There is a DART bus stop a few yards from the church, at the corner of Whitby Road and Concord Pike. DART Bus #2 comes roughly every half hour on weekdays 5 am to 10 pm; every half hour on Saturdays from 7:00 am to 9 pm, and every hour on Sundays 7 am to 7 pm. DART Bus #35 has very limited hours at the same bus stop. For the bus schedule click here: https://www.dartfirststate.com/

Wheelchair Accessibility
We have three entrances that are wheelchair accessible. One at the front of the sanctuary, where cars can park on the curb; one at the side of the building, by the offices, where cars can again park at the curb; and one at the back of the building; this is where our parking lot is, which has designated spaces for those with disabilities. Please note that many people park in the lots across the street from the front of the church on Whitby Road. Those lots do not belong to First U, and so we cannot maintain them, and there are no designated crosswalks. The front entrance has automated doors, activated by pushing a button, and it directly accesses the sanctuary and Parish Hall. If you enter from the side or back door, you will need to use the small lift to get to the sanctuary, kitchen, Parish Hall, and the Warner Room.

There are moveable chairs in the sanctuary, allowing extra spacing in whatever location of the room. The doors leading to the sanctuary from the main entrance are automated, doors from the sanctuary to the stairs open by pushing/pulling them. The dais in the sanctuary has three steps up to it, with a hand railing on one side. It is not currently accessible by wheelchair. We often use the floor in front of the dais in worship, which is accessible by wheelchair.

There are wheelchair accessible bathrooms, with all of them providing a support bar on one side of the toilet and one behind it, as well as accessible sinks. The bathroom off of the Warner Room, which is close to Parish Hall and the sanctuary, has the most room for maneuvering a wheelchair. There is a designated accessible room at the front of the sanctuary, but one of its doors is narrower (30” wide). On the first floor, near the back doors, are wheelchair accessible stalls (55” x 36”) in the men and women bathrooms. On the second floor, there are two single bathrooms that are also wheelchair accessible and are larger than 5 ft. x 5 ft.

After the Sunday service, we sometimes have snacks offered in the Parish Hall. The food is placed on a table of regular height. Drinks, such as coffee, tea, water, and sometimes juices, are accessed at a 38” high counter.

While our kitchen off of Parish Hall has a counter at 31” high and another at 36” high, they have storage underneath. The sink is 36.5” high, with a reach of 19.5” to the faucet lever. The stove and dishwasher are not easily accessible by wheelchair. The second floor kitchenette has a counter that is 32.5” high, but it also has storage underneath.

The church has wheelchairs and walkers available for people to use within the building.

Accessing Different Floors
A small lift allows members and guests to go between the sanctuary and the first floor. The lift is 3 feet by 52 inches, with the user entering from one end of the lift and exiting the other, making it unnecessary to turn around. The buttons must be held down as the lift moves.

An elevator that is 5 ft. x 4 ft. allows access between the first floor and the second floor, where our Children and Youth Religious Exploration (CYRE) and meeting rooms are.

Meeting and Classroom Accessibility
The Youth Center on the first floor and rooms 26 through 30 on the second floor have round door knobs and traditional light switches placed higher than 48”. Room 25, the Brunner Chapel, the bathrooms, kitchenette, and the Library/Music Room, all on the 2nd floor, have lever handles to open the doors; they also have flat light switches placed at a lower level. All of the rooms are carpeted with a short, tight pile. There are two water fountains on the second floor, 31.5” and 35.5” high. Doorways to all of the rooms on the second floor are 35” wide, though room 27 has a door that opens against walls, so the opening is about 33.5” wide. Brunner Chapel has a microphone/speaker system to allow for amplification of voices.

The Parish Hall on the first floor is a large, open space. It has two large beams that come up from the floor, by the wall opposite from the sanctuary. The beams go up diagonally to the ceiling, making a hazard for those with low vision of bumping their head on them.

Additional images of our building can be viewed at our facilities gallery.

Food
The church has a policy that all food brought into the building must not have any nuts. Many of our members and friends are vegan, so vegan food is usually offered at events, as well as gluten-free food. While some people provide information about ingredients in their dishes, this is not done consistently, though vegan and gluten-free food are usually labeled. After some of our Sunday services, snacks are provided in the Parish Hall.
Children are provided vegan, nut-free snacks during their Children & Youth Religious Exploration (CYRE) classes.

Communication
Members and guests are invited to use our assistive listening devices during events taking place in the sanctuary. The headphones amplify microphones and video audio. They are found near the front entrance of the sanctuary, on a table by the name tags.

We livestream our Sunday services via YouTube, which provides closed captioning. Currently, closed captioning is not provided in the sanctuary.

The Order of Service and the words to the hymns are projected on a large screen at the front of the sanctuary during worship services. There are also hymnals provided at the seats. If you would like to have an Order of Service and the hymns printed in large print, please request this the Wednesday before the service by calling (302) 478-2384 or emailing officemgr@firstuuwilm.org. If you would like to have the hymns in braille, you may request this at the contact information above, allowing two to three weeks for it to become available.

Information about upcoming events are emailed to members and friends every Friday. If you would like access to this digital information, please sign up at the following tiny url link: https://firstuuwilm.org/about/news-and-events/e-news-e-blasts-archive/

The church also has accounts on the following social media pages:
● Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/firstuuwilm/
● Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/firstuuwilm/
● TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/place/First-Unitarian-Church-20319181079852491

Pictures that are posted on Facebook and Instagram are described via Alt Text. The TikTok videos are closed captioned.

Sensory
The sanctuary is a large, open space with a high ceiling. Seating consists of cushioned chairs that can be moved, though they are heavy. There are bags of fidget toys such as pipe cleaners, crayons, and paper for those who would prefer to do something with their hands during the service. Some of our members can be seen knitting during the service.

The Warner Room is off the back of the sanctuary, offering a smaller, more intimate space, including upholstered chairs and couches. There is a small area for children to play with supervision if they do not wish to attend religious exploration classes or the worship service. The service can be viewed in the Warner Room. During coffee hour, more people will come into the Warner Room to sit and chat with others.

Parish Hall is a large, open space at the back of the sanctuary, where someone can feel free to move about as they view the service. After the service, people will go into the Parish Hall to socialize, and the room will then become crowded.

The Youth Center on the first floor is a large open room, with soft flooring, though for some religious exploration classes, children’s furniture and toys are brought out.

The Library on the second floor is a large room with bookshelves and a couple upholstered chairs. This offers a very quiet place for someone to spend time.

Most of the meeting and religious exploration classrooms on the second floor are large rooms, some with high ceilings. The carpet in the rooms has a short, tight pile. There are sinks in rooms 26-30. All of the rooms have tables and chairs; some rooms include learning materials and toys. The Youth Group’s room has couches and high top tables and stools.

Children
Children are invited to attend religious exploration classes with their respective age groups that occur during the worship service. However, if a child prefers to stay with their parents in the sanctuary, they are welcome to do so. Attendance of children in religious exploration can vary each Sunday, and so some days the children will have plenty of space and toys to play together or separately, while on other days they may be required to navigate more often the sharing of materials and toys.

Currently, there is not a designated space for calming down away from the group in the religious exploration classes. However, the Director of Religious Exploration, Catherine Williamson, is a former certified teacher, and she consults with the volunteer teachers and makes adjustments to the curriculum, schedule, and classroom space as needed for the children. Parents are welcome to call Catherine Williamson, the Director of Religious Exploration, at (302) 478-2384 or by email at catherine@firstuuwilm.org to discuss the needs of their children, if they would like.