Mobility Impairment


Mobility Impairment

Welcoming wheelchairs, walkers, and those who walk with difficulty

woman in wheelchair holding child greets friends
​Friends greet one another at Freeport (Illinois) Mennonite Church

Going where you want to go and getting there under your own power are privileges that about 7 percent of the U.S. population does not have—people with ambulatory disabilities.

Levels of mobility disabilities range from someone who wears special shoes to the person who relies on a power wheelchair to get around.

In order to make your church facilities welcoming to people with mobility limitations, try to foresee the problems people with mobility differences will encounter and build in alternative approaches to help everyone feel welcome. 


What kind of access does your church provide to the pulpit area? This is an important but often overlooked area in church accessibility. Can people of all abilities and heights access the pulpit to be able to take part in worship or to serve communion?  Are there steps? Can a temporary or permanent ramp provide access?


Does your building have stairs? Ramps, lifts, and elevators are alternatives that allow more people access. Sturdy railings by stairs also provide safety and independence for those who can mount stairs with assistance.

Practice hospitality

Some practices of hospitality need no architectural modifications.  Sit down in a chair or pew when talking with someone in a wheelchair or a sitting position.  Learn to move to the level of your conversation partner.

Getting started

One way to get started, if your congregation is new to considering these issues, is to use an accessibility audit. Several audit tools are available on our Accessibility page. Or you may prefer to go through your building methodically, taking the role of people with wheelchairs, walkers, or those who walk with difficulty unaided. Invite someone who uses a wheelchair to come with you!

Contact us to let us know how we can assist you. Blessings on your efforts!  

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