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Approaching Churches for Accomodation

Here are a few suggestions on how to ask a pastor or church to accommodate your chemical sensitivities:

 

  1. Approach the pastor or other leaders in a church, telling them a little about your health condition and how it limits your ability to be a part of church functions. Be specific when asking a pastor or church to accommodate your special needs. Every person with chemical sensitivities has different levels of sensitivity as well as different triggers. It’s important to let them know what types of accommodation you think might help you. (Note: If you feel more comfortable writing a letter rather than talking in person or on the phone, that is an appropriate thing to do. If you write a letter and don’t hear back after a month or so, follow up with a phone call.)

 

  1. Request that the church make a “fragrance free” policy for those attending church functions. Suggest putting an announcement about this in the weekly bulletin. Ask if the pastor could make a reminder about the policy periodically from the pulpit. If the church is too large to realistically become “fragrance free” in the Sunday morning service, ask if there might be a smaller group that might be able to accommodate that request. (For example, perhaps it might be more realistic for a ladies’ or men’s Bible study, or a home fellowship group to become “fragrance free”.)

 

  1. Ask if the church would be willing to use non-toxic cleaning products such as baking soda and vinegar while cleaning their facilities. Ask if they would be willing to eliminate the use of deodorizers and potpourri in restrooms.

 

  1. If a church uses pesticides, ask if they would be willing to use safer alternatives on church grounds. There are many non-toxic fertilizers available including Ringer, which can be purchased at many hardware stores. Suggest using distilled white vinegar in place of herbicides as a weed killer. Cedar grove compost is a good alternative to suggest in place of using traditional “beauty bark” for flowerbeds.

 

  1. Suggest the church use products low in toxicity when doing remodeling projects. Products low in toxicity will be healthier for everyone.

 

  1. If you are too sensitive to try and come to any church functions, suggest that the church find a person of the same sex who would be willing to be a prayer partner for you on the phone weekly or a couple times a month.

 

  1. If the church has a spare room near the sanctuary, ask if they could set aside the room on Sunday mornings as a “Fragrance Free Zone.” Putting a T.V. monitor in the room would enable chemically sensitive people to hear and view the service without being exposed to fragrances on other church members. Only people who were willing to abide by a strict “fragrance free” policy would be allowed in the room. If possible, one person would be responsible for monitoring those who come into the room to ensure they are “fragrance free.”

 

  1. Give the pastor or church information on MCS. If it is relevant to your situation, offer to give them information on the toxicity of pesticides (http://www.chem-tox.com) and fragrances (http://www.ehnca.org) if they are interested.

 

  1. If your governor signed an MCS Awareness Month Proclamation that year, consider giving a copy of it to the pastor.
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