Building a Better Welcome for All

We have made a commitment to dramatically improve accessibility. We are a welcoming community. Yet many people have serious difficulty getting into the building! Our 1940s design, even with the band-aid add-ons we have made through the years, is quite inadequate for a number of our members and for many in our community.
Building 2020, our capital improvement plan, offers changes and enhancements that will allow us to build a bigger welcome.


WELCOME: An invitation to people of all physical abilities

Welcome: Whoever You Are, How You Are (Gender neutral restroom)

Ground level access on the Massachusetts Avenue side of the building, with a driveway, drop off/waiting space, sidewalk, small lobby and a wheelchair accessible elevator will ensure access to all of the building for people with disabilities and mobility issues.

Renovated restrooms will be available for persons with special needs:  the women’s restroom on the sanctuary level will be handicapped accessible; a new gender neutral restroom will be available for everyone, especially families with children, persons who need assistance in the restroom, and anyone who feels more comfortable or safer in a gender neutral space. 

WELCOME: creating a better spiritual home for CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES

By re-arranging spaces on the Sanctuary level we can better serve our families with young children with a total of three rooms for child care, classrooms, and gathering spaces.

The associate minister’s office will be moved into an office suite with the other staff. This will provide flexible space on the main hallway behind the Sanctuary.

WELCOME: Feeding the spirit through music

Music is a vital part of our tradition. It is an important part of our celebration and worship.  We will better organize and consolidate music activities, facilitating collaboration, learning and growth.

By removing a temporary wall between the choir room and Washington Conservator offices we will enlarge cramped rehearsal space for our Chancel and Festival Choirs, consolidate our music library, and move our hand bells from the Mabry Room to the music suite. The Conservatory offices will move to new space between the parlor and social hall.

WELCOME: breaking bread together and Spreading a table for others

Sharing food is an important part of the life of the church, Breaking bread provides opportunities for building community, celebrating special moments, and intergenerationalconversation.

A streamlined catering kitchen at Westmoreland will support our many varied activities/ministries -- including:

For ourselves:  Coffee hour preparation each Sunday; Church-wide dinners and lunches, be they potluck or catered; lunches and dinners for smaller groups, often including guests from other churches; church picnics, generally catered, the kitchen serving as a holding and serving space.

For our outreach to the community:  Casseroles for So Others Might Eat (SOME) – prepared by members, collected and held frozen in church kitchen till delivered, and Briggs Center Sandwiches for Martha’s Table – community-wide activity, sandwiches prepared in church kitchen.

welcome: welcoming our volunteer corps to ENHANCE their SERVICE AND OUTREACH

Our Volunteer Corps House and church building are much more than just buildings. These are launch pads for service in the community in ways that would not be possible without those facilities.

Our Building 2020 plan includes updates to the Volunteer Corps House entrance and first floor.  

Westmorelanders are justifiably proud of the effective outreach of the Volunteer Corps program. It is one of the best ways that serve the DC community. The Volunteer Corps enhances the communities to which our volunteers return and enriches the ways they live out their professional lives. The home in which the Volunteers live is an important part of the infrastructure of that ministry. That home needs upkeep that has been neglected and modest improvements -- including updating the kitchen, updating bathrooms, and building a ramp to make the house more accessible.

Further, the planned improvements will make our church building more welcoming and accessible to the numerous organizations and activities that benefit from our generous building use policies -- policies that reflect our outreach and social commitments.

Our building is used by many people in many ways – Sandwich-making in the kitchen, SOME casserole storage in the kitchen, ESL Classes, AA and ALANON meetings, Eagle Scout projects, Girl Scoutsand Boy Scouts meetings, yoga classes, anti-gun violence groups, Stop Hunger Now Program, ACOA meetings, citizenship classes, the Middle East Committee’s Olive Oil Ministry, play rehearsals (Middle East Committee supported), book group meetings (non-church affiliated), Life Line Health Seminars, meeting spaces for other churches, Little Fall Watershed Alliance, the Little Falls Swim Team, and other non-church meetings hosted by Westmorelanders.  

And, of course, the students and faculties of the two schools that share our building will benefit from the planned improvements.

Welcome: better ways to care for the earth

This commitment is expressed in the portion Building 2020 Plan and Capital Campaign that provides for managing storm water runoff and for ecologically sound landscaping that features native plants.


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