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Church extends radical hospitality to those with disabilities

Church extends radical hospitality to those with disabilities

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Church extends radical hospitality to those with disabilities

By Tony Chance | Aug. 23, 2009

Last year Azalea Park United Methodist Church in Orlando decided it needed to install a bathroom that would be accessible to people with disabilities in order to be a radically hospitable church — in keeping with the five practices of The Methodist Way, one of which is radical hospitality.

Ron Twyford, lay leader at Azalea Park United Methodist Church in Orlando, and Donna Frost, chairwoman of the church’s management team, cut the ribbon at the dedication of the church’s new bathroom, accessible to people with disabilities. It’s one way the church is working to extend radical hospitality to its neighbors. Photo courtesy of Azalea Park United Methodist Church.

It was no small undertaking for a small church, and every member participated in some way. A dinner auction coordinated by members, who cooked, served, donated items and bid on others, raised $10,000. One member drew up the plans for the bathroom, and with help from two teams of NOMADS, members gutted, reframed, plumbed, painted, tiled and restored an old office for use as the family-friendly, accessible restroom.

NOMADS are Nomads on a Mission of Active Divine Service. They are volunteers — usually retired people who own an RV — who help with work projects at United Methodist churches and facilities. NOMADS is a mission outreach ministry of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church.

The bathroom’s completion was especially significant for Sue Franklyn. The church member uses a wheelchair and has a physical condition that is worsening. She said attending church was becoming increasingly difficult for her without an accessible restroom.

Franklin and the church dedicated the bathroom July 26.

Contact: Rev. Tony Chance at