When water started dripping from the ceiling of the women’s restroom on January 31, the Ministry of Property Team sprang into action. The following Thursday afternoon, Mark Twist and Bill Palleschi were removing saturated plasterboard and soaked insulation and discovered the source of the water: a joint in the new plumbing had a tiny pinhole that was spraying a mist of water.
The plumbers who worked on the construction project were called and a plan for repairs was developed and is being executed at the plumbing company’s expense as of the deadline for this edition of The Bell.
The leak and need for repairs also became a catalyst for the Cabinet to discuss our bathroom configuration and how it does not provide an appropriate and/or safe place for all people. “Suppose a couple comes to church, a man and a woman, and one of them needs assistance when using the restroom,” Pastor Jeff said. “What restroom are they supposed to use?”
“Some transgender people may not be comfortable using either restroom,” Pastor Brenda said. “When being an Open and Affirming congregation is such an important part of our identity, we need to have a restroom option that is safe for all people.”
In the short-term, the Cabinet has asked our Pastors to add signs to the restroom doors that express a welcome to people to use the restroom that they feel is most appropriate for their situation. The Cabinet is also looking into design options for a possible remodel that might offer more restroom options. “We will keep the congregation informed as this possibility is explored,” Moderator Cathy West said.