At Easter, we celebrate the life-giving Resurrection of Christ. As a response to the new life we’ve been given, we dedicate a special Easter Offering to a ministry or facility need that increases our ability to serve others. These offerings are for special projects—not just routine repairs—but projects that help us live more fully into our core values. We don’t use it to keep the lights on, but to go beyond! This year our Easter Offering will be dedicated to the renovation of a restroom on the first floor of our Sanctuary building, located at the base of the main stairwell near Wesley Hall.
What’s so missional about a restroom? As a church that seeks to welcome all people, we’ve spent years learning how to create a welcoming atmosphere for people of all gender identities, including those who identify as trans or non-binary. These members and visitors of our church find themselves struggling to decide whether to use a men’s or women’s restroom, juggling between their own comfort and the curious looks they may receive from others. One of the best solutions is to provide access to single-stall unisex restrooms wherever possible.
In our Sanctuary and Education buildings, the only single-stall restroom on the ground floor is located in the Children’s Ministry wing, which is not ideal. Our goal is to convert the restroom at the bottom of the stairs—currently a women’s restroom with two tiny stalls—into a single-stall unisex restroom to provide a centrally located restroom. The remodel will make the bathroom more comfortable, with ample room for a changing table and updated safety modifications for the entrance.*
To many of us, locating a bathroom may not seem like a big deal, but to some of our siblings in Christ, the intentional presence of unisex bathrooms communicates a level of care that befits the welcome of God. To put it a little more directly, this is “putting our money where our mouth is.” We don’t just want to say “welcome” with our lips; we want to embody that welcome in our facilities too. We estimate the total cost of the remodel to be $50,000, including costs for an interior designer, contractor, labor, and materials. Working together, we can make this project a success and take an important step in our commitment to welcome all of God’s beloved children to FUMC.
As we prepare to make fuller use of our facilities again, I hope you’ll join us in taking this step of hospitality by making a gift beyond your usual offering. You can mail a check to the church office, or give online by going to fumcaustin.org/giving. As you designate your gift, choose “Easter & Christmas” in the drop-down menu. (Please note that online gifts incur a fee of 3% and consider increasing your gift to cover that cost.)
Thank you for all the ways you continue to support the work God is doing through the community of First United Methodist Church. I’m grateful and proud to serve you as your Pastor.
With Easter Hope,
*We looked for a way to make this restroom ADA compliant, but it was not possible without blocking the hallway.