St Mary’s is a Victorian building which was built with no regard for what we would now regard as basic accessibility requirements. However, a number of steps have been taken in order to make the building more accessible. The vocation of the congregation is to be a cathedral which is open, inclusive and welcoming.
Access from street level into the church is almost flat. There is a ramp rising only about 1 inch between the car park level. Stewards are available at all Sunday Services and Choral Masses to help with the doors. Access is through the glass door on the left of the porch. The two wooden doors of the porch can also be opened for slightly wider access and are usually used for funerals and weddings.
Almost all of the seating in the nave of the Cathedral is in pews which sit on a raised platform. Some wheelchair users prefer to be located at the back of the church during services – others at the front near the nave altar platform. The nave of the church is otherwise on one level.
The sanctuary of the church where 8.30 am services on a Sunday and 11 am services on a Wednesday take place is up two steps. A wheelchair ramp is available to enable access into this area and stewards and clergy are happy to help put it into place. This ramp can also be used to give wheelchair access onto the platform on which the nave altar stands.
The Synod Hall and Church are on different levels. These are connected with an electrically operated wheelchair lift.
There are four toilets available on the same level as the Synod Hall, down 4 four steps from the church level. Two of these are designated for men and two for women. There is one toilet on the same level as the church which is gender neutral and more accessible for wheelchair users. This is located in a corridor which can be found through the door of the oratory to the left at the front of the church on the same side as the pulpit. There is a ramp of a couple of inches at this door.
This website uses WordPress and a recent version of the Genesis framework. The Genesis Accessibility plugin is used on the site in order to try to make the site easier to navigate using screen-readers.
A sound amplification system is in use at the Sunday Services and weekday masses. A loop system is available in the pews in the nave of the church.
Most services use service sheets which are available in A5 and larger-print A4 versions. Liturgies can usually be emailed to members of the congregation in advance by the office manager by prior arrangement.
The language used in the liturgy at the 11 am service on a Thursday and the 8.30 am and 6.30 pm services on a Sunday is the traditional form from the Scottish Prayer Book 1929. Modern language is used at all other services. A distinctive feature of the worship at St Mary’s is an attempt to ensure that as much of the language of the hymnody as possible uses language which is inclusive of both men and women for human beings. The language used to refer to God is deliberately as rich and varied as that within the biblical tradition.
Car Parking is difficult to regulate in the West End of Glasgow which makes it difficult to guarantee that parking right next to the Cathedral will ever be available for anyone. Car parking for Sunday services is restricted to members of staff and Blue Badge holders. Lots of street parking is available in the streets around the cathedral. Drivers should be careful to check the parking regulations which are different for different streets.
Making St Mary’s More Inclusive
Comments about making St Mary’s more inclusive are always welcome and can be made to the Provost or the Vestry Secretary via the Cathedral Office.