Disability Ministry

A Bridge Builder Church

Monte Sano United Methodist Church is a Bridge Builder Church.  This means we have been recognized by the North Alabama Conference as a church who welcomes, celebrates, and includes the gifts of persons with disabilities.


Monte Sano United Methodist Church is designed for accessibility. Our designated parking spaces are located at the front, side, and back entrances to the church.  The parking lot is level and well lit. The sidewalks are smooth and over 36 inches wide.  There are two covered entrances for sheltered unloading. All entrances are level, therefore not requiring a ramp.  We do not have steps into or inside our building to reach fellowship or worship areas.  Entrance doors are sufficiently wide, easily opened, and kick drops hold the doors open for entry.  Our playground provides a wide sidewalk for wheelchairs, an accessible swing, and an accessible drinking fountain.

The halls are wide, well lit, and non-glare. Doorways  are  wide and without high thresholds. Drinking fountains and bathroom facilities are wheelchair accommodating. Soap, paper towels, mirrors are lower than 40 inches.  A designated wheelchair stall in each bathroom has grab bars. One bathroom in the education building is a Family  Bathroom with accommodations. In the sanctuary, the aisles and pews are easily moved and easily modified for the needs of the worshippers. Ushers are available to make any seating arrangements desired. The nursery contains a private diaper change area to accommodate a large child.

Large print songbooks and Bibles are available.  Assisted listening systems are available from the audio/visual director of worship.  If sign language is needed, with prior arrangements, a church family can provide this service as they have this training. Special programs are available to the congregation in education , etiquette, and support of the disabled and their families. Our goal is that you feel welcomed, appreciated, and a gift to us for being a part of the congregation at Monte Sano United Methodist Church.

Article from AL.com about Our Playground (February 2013)

Monte Sano Methodist Church receives Christopher Reeve grant for accessible playground

by Kay Campbell

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Thanks to motivation triggered by a chance remark by the mother of a quadriplegic child, a community playground accessible to all, including children in wheelchairs, is rising beside Monte Sano United Methodist Church in Huntsville.

The church received news today, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, that the project will receive a $1,000 grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

The award was one of 76 grants totaling almost $427,000 awarded by the Reeve Foundation to nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide more opportunities, access, and daily quality of life for individuals living with paralysis, their families, and caregivers.

The playground has also received a $2,000 grant from the United Methodist Church’s Disability Ministries. And monies raised through bake sales and donations has brought the total so far to more than $12,000, Hall said.

The congregation will celebrate the dedication of the playground on Saturday, March 30, 2013, during a Family Easter Festival at the church that begins at 10 a.m. The event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will include crafts, games, cooking and an Easter Egg hunt.

Monte Sano 1.jpg Dennis Aplin, left, and Cason Elam prepare to settle the framework for a wheelchair-accessible swing-set into 5-foot holes they then filled with concrete for the accessible playground being built for the community beside Monte Sano United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Ala. The men were part of a community team of 15 who are spending Saturdays in February 2013 erecting the extensive equipment. (Courtesy of Allison Lewis)  

$50 brownie

Last fall, Brenda Hall, whose husband, Chris Hall, is also paralyzed from the neck down, was talking with the mother of a paralyzed child. The mom watched a child on the old swing set then at Monte Sano Methodist Church and remarked that her daughter had never gotten to swing. The remark resonated for Brenda Hall and woke her up in the middle of the night.

“God just put this mission on me,” Hall said. “To think she had never gotten to play on a swing!”

Organized through Hall’s efforts and with other volunteers, the accessible playground is rising alongside the church. Donations, Hall said, have poured in from individuals and organizations in the community, including non-members. Members of Monte Sano have also raised money with a bake sale.

“One man gave us $50 for a brownie,” Hall said, laughing. “I don’t know when I’ve been so inspired and amazed by the community. People are so generous and caring and good. They really want to help.”

Community volunteers began construction in the snow on Feb. 2, and have worked since to pour the deep footings required to support the equipment. The Monte Sano Woman’s Club donated money for a bench. Another group is building picnic tables, and children are already playing on the monkey bars, which were set into place this week. A smooth, winding path is being poured out to the playground, which is near fields that the church opens to the community for informal ballgames.

Phase I of the playground has been completed with fencing, an accessible walkway, accessible swing, four regular swings, benches, volleyball posts and a chinning bar. Phase II, expected to be completed in late March, will add sugar maple trees, picnic tables, some monkey bars and a spinning apparatus called “Sky Runner” by the company in Ft. Payne that makes the specialized equipment.

But Phase II is not the last one, organizers say.

“We hope to keep adding to it,” Hall said.

“From the beginning, Dale was adamant that this would be for the community,” Hall said, referring to Monte Sano Pastor Dale Clem. “That it would never be locked or have a padlocked gate. We want the community to use it.”