Many of you will remember the Rev. Chris Vais. He was a well-loved minister at Knox, Waterdown from his ordination in 1987 until 1998. During that time, he was diagnosed with ALS (known also as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and later died in 2002 but made a huge and lasting impact on the church and on his community. He is still widely known for the sensitive and courageous way he shared his journey to the very end through writing and preaching.

His brother, the Rev. Tom Vais, was in touch with Crieff Hills recently. He heard about our Maclean Hall Welcome Project and making our property barrier free for everyone. He said:

Very well done, people of Crieff Hills. I know that this is not an easy project, but it is greatly appreciated. My brother Chris loved visiting Crieff from Waterdown. He was often invited to be a guest speaker there but after he was confined to a wheelchair, he was no longer able to visit. Thanks for this great and important step forward…I personally appreciate your commitment to this important project.

This is just one of the beautiful responses we’ve had to our work on accessibility. And even through a summer filled with dust and inconvenience, guests and staff have been gracious and grateful. We know that this is important work we are doing together, and it is worth our time and effort.

We are not quite at the finish line yet, but we are almost there!

Entry: Our new front door is in, and next week we expect the automated door closer will be installed. Having the concrete walkway and parking spaces installed has proven to be a significant challenge and we are still working on it. We have a lovely quilt ready to hang and we’d love a long straight pew for the hall for anyone waiting or putting on winter boots.

Washrooms: All three washrooms—men’s, women’s and barrier free—are in working order and ready for paint. Only the automated door closer is left to finish.

Office and reception: We have a bright, open office with double glass doors! The next step is two-level reception desks and a shared staff workstation, plus lots of paint on walls and trim. A new coat room has ample room for boots and jackets.

Dining room: Beautiful new flooring, fresh paint and updated electrical outlets look amazing in Maclean Hall. Next up is a bank of cupboards on the north wall for the coffee station and special diet fridge. The sound will echo in the room until we get the special wall installations to baffle the sound, but that should happen soon. We are slowly collecting wooden chairs (Arrowback style) to replace the plastic ones but still need a harvest table (or two) for our buffet.

Second exit: The front of the schoolhouse has a new floor and vintage door just waiting for paint. We plan to add a small porch with stairs and a ramp this fall.

Everything is looking bright, open and welcoming. We have kept our budget on track, too, and we expect that by the end of October we will be ready to dream about our next barrier free project.

If you’d like to help, we always welcome donations to our accessibility fund. And we could put a few volunteer painters to work, too! Just contact Rev. Kristine director(at), drop by the office or visit our web site if you’d like to help. And be sure to plan a visit soon to see it all yourself. We’d love to welcome you.

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