The Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference met last week, June 11-13th, where alongside other legislation, an action request was passed that states a recommendation for all churches in the conference to have at least one restroom in each church building designated as single-user, gender neutral, accessible and lockable by 2020. These bathrooms are important for the safety, comfort, and accessibility of many different people who come to our churches. They provide a safe space for parents to accompany their small children to the restroom. They provide accessible bathrooms for people in wheelchairs. They meet the need of trans people who don’t feel comfortable or safe using a gendered restroom. For some churches, this may simply require updating signage to designate a restroom as gender neutral.

Read more below about this action request from an Annual Conference deepening its posture of welcome to families, trans people, people of different abilities, and young people. Thank you to the Oregon-Idaho Reconciling United Methodists who sponsored this action!

 

ACTION REQUEST 02
2015 OREGON-IDAHO ANNUAL CONFERENCE

I/We petition the Oregon-Idaho Annual conference to take the following action:

In order to provide facilities that protect human dignity, offer safe spaces, and equalize access, we recommend that each United Methodist Church (UMC) in the Oregon‑Idaho Annual Conference by 2020 have at least one rest room in each church building designated as single user, gender neutral, accessible, and lockable. Each congregation will be invited to report its progress toward this goal for each session of Annual Conference.

We also request that churches add a child-sized commode and lavatory where this is feasible.

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SUPPORTING INFORMATION
Our Conference holds that our churches and facilities (buildings, gathering spaces, offices, etc) are safe places for all regardless of age, ability, gender, and other personal characteristics.

The United Methodist Church is a people of open hearts, open minds and open doors — a church that practices radical hospitality. As such, we raise the bar so that our churches in Oregon and Idaho equal or exceed practices of personal and family care.

What will this action accomplish?
Developing a gender‑neutral, single‑user, accessible, lockable rest room in each Oregon‑Idaho UMC will serve our members and visitors in these ways and possibly more:

  • where assistance of another person is needed for an adult/youth/child with physical or other needs
  • family‑friendly for parents with infants/toddlers
  • use by anyone whose health, social, medical, or other needs mandate a single‑person rest room

Why is it important?
To ensure that all members and visitors can take care of themselves and their families on site without embarrassment.

How will it be carried out? By whom?
By the Trustees, health care teams, and other local congregational groups that oversee building use and welcoming policies and actions.

Even though this request is directed to congregations, other entities of the United Methodist Church in Oregon‑Idaho are encouraged to implement this action to the greatest extent possible – Camp and Retreat Ministries at each site, campus ministries, the Conference and District offices, and so forth.

How much will it cost? Where will the money come from?
Cost will vary depending on the retrofitting/remodeling/outfitting needs of each site. Each site will have the flexibility to develop its own plan.

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