By Cindy Solomon

Nashville’s Connection United Methodist Church received a $2,004 grant to help fund an elevator door restrictor that improves church safety and accessibility. The grant is from the Golden Cross Foundation, now known as ENCORE Ministry.

In the late 1990’s the church installed an elevator to increase accessibility between three floors. At the time, a door restrictor — a device preventing passengers from opening elevator doors if the elevator stops between floors — was not required. However, a recent routine inspection required either installing a door restrictor or taking the elevator out of service.

In a multi-storied building, an elevator is essential for persons with mobility issues. At Connection UMC, the sanctuary and the fellowship hall are on different floors. Without the elevator, people with mobility issues would have to walk or drive around the building to get from one space to another.

“What a joy it is having this safety measure installed so as to keep our elevator in service!” Derseweh said. “The accessibility offered by the elevator is a huge help to parishioners and to others in the community entering the building for various activities.”

Connection members Nick and Carolyn Sullivan agree. “Having an elevator in a church with an aging membership is a necessity. Not only is it used to move people to different floors, it is also critical in moving heavy objects from floor to floor,” Carolyn said.

No matter how large or small a project, God is at work through grants such as the one Connection UMC received.

“For us, having the connectional system at work to help us fund this project provided both financial resources and a Holy Spirit connection with others across our conference,” Derseweh said.