Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church Recognized for Accessibility Efforts

Pathways.org Announces Annual Open Hearts Awards Grants

Congratulations to the Our Lady of the Lake community in Edwardsburg, Michigan, on their recent grant from Pathways.org!  Our Lady of the Lake is a parish administered by Fr. Joe McCormick, O.S.A., an Augustinian of the Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel.

CHICAGO (October 9, 2014) –– Pathways.org, a Chicago based not-for-profit, is pleased to recognize Our Lady Of The Lake Catholic Church, Edwardsburg Michigan, with a $1,000 cash grant for their efforts to include worshipers of all abilities as active participants. The congregation submitted an application describing the steps they have taken to provide accommodations so members of all abilities can worship, attend social functions and minister at their parish. The church requested a grant of $1,000 to help fund automatic door openers and ramps for two church entrances.

In 2000 Our Lady of the Lake parish built a new social hall, kitchen and classroom addition. The community wanted the addition to be accessible. A single story floor plan, wide doorways and accessible restrooms achieved this goal. The parish is now undergoing a $2.5 million renovation that will address making the entrances to the church, the parish offices, sanctuary and food pantry accessible. The architectural design of the project includes the installation of ramps, automatic doors and a lift system to make church buildings more convenient for all congregants.

“Hospitality is such a sacred virtue of our ancient tradition,” said Father Joe McCormick,
O.S.A., pastor of Our Lady of the Lake. “Our members and ministers might be the kindest
and most welcoming persons—but if others can’t get in to meet them here, much of our
work might be in vain. The openness and accessibility of our buildings should both
reflect and form the virtue of hospitality in our members. We are so grateful to Pathways
for helping us achieve this goal,” said Father McCormick.

About the Open Hearts Awards

Applications for the Pathways.org Open Hearts Awards and Junior Open Hearts Awards (nominated by children, ages 5-18) are accepted annually. Deadline for applications is August 1. Congregations must submit a completed application form, a video or essay with photos describing the congregation’s inclusion efforts and a request for funding for a specific, planned project. Grant amounts are for up to $1,000. Awards are announced in the fall in conjunction with Inclusion Awareness Day, the second weekend in October.

Since 1997, Pathways.org has recognized 194 congregations with more than $150,000 in Open Hearts Awards grants. For more information and application forms call 1-800-955-2445, visit www.InclusionInWorship.org, or click here to email.

Contact: Joanne Meyer
Inclusion In Worship
Cell: 708-710-5286

About Inclusion Awareness Day

Pathways.org invites congregations to celebrate Inclusion Awareness Day annually on the second Sunday in October or on alternate fall dates. On Inclusion Awareness Day houses of faith take stock of their current access and inclusion efforts and renew their commitments to welcoming worshipers of all abilities as active participants. Visit www.InclusionInWorship.org for ideas and interfaith planning materials.

About Pathways.org

Pathways.org is a national non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the benefit of early detection and early therapy for children with early motor, sensory and communication delays. Visit www.pathways.org for more information. Pathways.org fosters inclusion in all aspects of the community. Through the interfaith Inclusion In Worship ministry, Pathways.org provides grants, videos, educational materials and Inclusion Awareness Day planning materials to congregations to help them welcome worshipers of all abilities. Visit www.InclusionInWorship.org for more information.