Access Ministries Welcomes You
We celebrate and welcome individuals of all abilities and strive to be a place where all can worship and grow in their faith. We offer ministry support that extends the love and message of Jesus Christ to those with special needs and helps to incorporate them fully into the life of the church.
Our Vision and Values
Access Ministries is the Floris UMC community of staff, volunteers, and congregation committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for those with disabilities, special needs, or who require additional accommodations, and their family members as they transition through all phases of life.
In accomplishing its vision, Access Ministries adheres to the following values:
- Dignity – We affirm that every person is created in God’s image; all have worth, value, and dignity.
- Respect – We promote self-determination and maintain discretion in our interactions with those with disabilities, special needs, or who require additional accommodations, and their families.
- Safety – We carefully vet and train our staff and volunteers to assist and support the large variety of disabilities and special needs in our church.
- Accessibility & Accommodations – We provide an accessible building and strive to meet any reasonable accommodation requested to enable full participation in the church for all persons.
- Inclusion – We offer opportunities for people of all abilities to participate in all activities throughout the life of the church.
What is the Oversight Committee?
The Access Ministries Oversight Committee interfaces with the special needs and disabilities community to better understand its needs and communicate those needs to the Floris UMC leadership. Team members include:
- people with disabilities
- professionals and educators that serve those with disabilities, special needs, or who require additional accommodations, and their family members
- church staff
The committee offers recommendations to the Church Council for its consideration and approval and provides support for its implementation.
How can I access the church?
Go to Church
- Handicap-accessible van – For residents of Coppermine Place apartments in Herndon, we offer round trip rides on our handicap-accessible van for our 11 a.m. worship service every Sunday. To register for this transportation, please contact Barbara Miner.
- Ride-sharing – If you are unable to access the church and would like to request a ride, please contact Barbara Miner.
- Building – Our Herndon building is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design (1991) including
- designated parking for those with DMV-issued disabled parking placards and license plates
- curb cutouts and ramp access to the building
- power assist doors
- elevator access to all floors
- handicap accessible restrooms on every floor
- Sanctuary – Our sanctuary provides easy access for those with mobility issues. Enter through double doors to a sanctuary all on one level. There are pew cutouts for those in wheelchairs, and plenty of space to store walkers and canes. Speak to an usher if you prefer to have communion brought to you.
- Quiet Room – For those who prefer a quiet space, we offer our Chapel which has chairs and a contemplative environment. The sermon can be heard through an amplifier and headset. Please see an usher for assistance.
- Restless Room – For those who prefer a place where they may move or make noise, we offer our Gathering Space which has many tables and chairs. The service is broadcast live via monitors in this area.
- Online Worship – For those unable to attend Floris UMC in person, we offer live stream services from the Herndon campus every Sunday at 9:15 and 11 a.m. We also provide an online community led by Bob Riggles. He facilitates a group chat during the services and several small groups that meet online throughout the week.
- Previous Services – For those unable to attend in person or during live streams, videos of Sunday services are available online that afternoon. A podcast of the sermon is posted online within two days.
Floris UMC is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for everyone. Learn more about our security policies and procedures.
What accommodations can I access for adults?
- Sign language interpreter – We offer sign language interpretation every Sunday at 9:15 and 11 a.m. This is also visible during our online service on the same day and time.
- We offer two types of hearing assistance devices at all of our services. Please see an usher for assistance.
- Telecoil – The telecoil technology connects the user directly to the sanctuary’s audio system and filters out unwanted background noise. This can be connected directly to the user’s hearing aid or through a headset.
- Amplifiers – Amplifiers increase the volume of everything in the room and connect to the user through a headset
- Our website is fully accessible and supports disabilities that affect access to the Internet, including auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual. To adjust the website, select the logo on the upper right side of the screen.
- Electronic versions of the Bible which can be adjusted for those with vision impairments can be found here:
What accommodations can I access for young adults?
We seek to provide Christian Education programming to young adults of all abilities. By carefully matching young adults with trained volunteers, we can provide the following accommodations:
• Learning supports
• Adapted environments
• Behavior supports
• Physical supports
The level of support is a collaboration between the Buddy Ministry Coordinator and parents. The Individual Spiritual Plan is periodically re-evaluated to ensure that it meets the needs of the young adult.
Floris UMC encourages participation in the life of our church for young adults of all abilities. Please see How can I volunteer? for more information.
What accommodations can I access for children and students?
The Floris Buddy Program provides access to Kid Nation, XRoads, and Bright Life for children and students who need support. A Buddy can be requested by a parent or identified by Children and Student Ministry staff. Parents and staff then work together to create a support plan with appropriate spiritual and social goals. Finally, we pick two volunteers from our program to assist during children and student programming. We match Buddy volunteers with children and students based on need, compatibility, and personality.
The Floris Buddy Program gives access to programming for children and students of all abilities and needs. By carefully matching students with trained volunteers, we can provide the following accommodations:
• Learning supports
• Adapted environments
• Classroom behavior supports
• Physical supports
The level of support is a collaboration between the Buddy Ministry Coordinator and parents. The Individual Spiritual Plan is periodically re-evaluated to ensure that it meets the needs of the child or student.
The Buddy Ministry Coordinator keeps all health and educational diagnoses confidential. Only required accommodations and goals are shared with the Buddy.
Please contact Wendy Hilbert for more information about the Buddy Program.
Children and students who need a “reset” or “break” from the classroom environment can use the Sensory Room. This safe space provides sensory stabilization and includes tactile, visual, and auditory tools. Students will return to the group as soon as possible to continue to participate and learn.
We also provide appropriate supports in the classroom, including the use of
• Visual cues
• Token boards
• Sensory tools
• One-on-one support
What Support Groups can I join?
How can I volunteer?
- All Floris UMC employees and volunteers who interact with children, students, and Buddy Ministry participants are required to complete safety and sexual abuse awareness training.
- All volunteers who work with children in Kindergarten-Grade 5 receive in-person, interactive training to support children of all abilities. The training includes:
- awareness of varying abilities and challenges
- classroom management
- behavioral management
- resources available to support our children
- All Buddy Ministry volunteers are required to participate in training on methods and approaches for supporting children, students, and young adults with differing abilities.
- The Buddy Ministry Coordinator provides immediate intervention and coaching to Kid Nation teachers and Buddies during Sunday activities.
Everyone of all capabilities is encouraged to participate fully in the life of our church. Below are service and volunteer opportunities currently supported by people with disabilities and special needs.
- Audio Visual Ministry: camera operator, live stream, presenter; contact Keri Rafter
- Sunday Hospitality: Welcome Desk, greeters, ushers; contact Megan Murphy
- Event Support: kitchen helpers (cooking, serving, cleaning up), sign in support, set up / break down, children’s activities; contact Megan Murphy
- Music Ministry
- Buddy Ministry: contact Wendy Hilbert
- Grow Ministry: life group leaders; contact Bill Gray
- Help Hungry Kids: contact Donna Porter
- Hypothermia Shelter: contact Scott Nowak
- Floris Guest House: contact Donna Porter
Questions? We are here to help! Contact Wendy Hilbert