People with mobility challenges will now have an easier time accessing Pittman Park UMC’s Fellowship Hall thanks to an automatic door opener. The low-energy operator arm engages when users apply pressure to the door, opening the door and holding it open to allow those with canes, crutches, wheelchairs, or just full arms to more easily pass through. Members of The Bulloch County Historical Society were the first group to benefit from the improvement on Monday morning at their group’s monthly luncheon. It was a fitting inauguration for a project intended to benefit not just church members and guests but also the many community groups that use the facility.

Installation of the door opener device was made possible by a $1,000 grant from the Disability Ministries Committee of the United Methodist Church. The grant caught the eye of Pastor Jonathan Smith because the church staff had recently been exploring ways to improve the church experience for members with disabilities. Could any of their plans benefit from free money? It was decided that the best project to propose for grant funding would be the installation of an automatic door opener because it was a suggestion directly from a church member with limited mobility and could be prohibitively expensive without a boost from external support.

The project received additional help when congregation member and electrician Jesse Hopkins donated his time and labor to select and install the device once the funding came through.

Pastor Jonathan says, “It’s been amazing to see this project come together–on day one I can say it’s already made Pittman Park a better place.”