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.
The nave of the church has relatively easy wheelchair access. There are no steps into the church though the main door has a small lip of about an inch. Stewards are on duty at all Sunday services, Choral Masses and at diocesan services near the door to help open doors for those arriving and leaving the building. Help can be requested with managing these doors for midweek services by contacting the Cathedral Office in advance. 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.
Most of the seating is in pews which are on a raised, fixed base. Wheelchair users have several choices as to which part of the church to be in for services. There is a lot of space at the back of the church and there are two spaces at the front of the church which allow a non-wheelchair user and a wheelchair user to sit side by side.
Some midweek services and the 8.30 Sunday Services take place in the chancel. Most of the seating here is in the old choir stalls and the canon’s stalls. Wheel chair access is by means of a removable ramp which stewards and clergy are happy to help with. The ramp is located behind the piano when not in use.
The ramp also can be used to give access to the platform at the crossing on which which the nave altar sits, thus ensuring that this altar is accessible to a celebrant in a wheel chair.
The Synod Hall and Church are on different levels. These are connected with an electrically operated wheelchair lift. The Synod Hall can also be accessed down a slope from the outside of the church through the door furthest from the main gate on Great Western Road.
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.
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. This may be useful for people wishing to print the service out in giant print or in Braille.
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.
The service sheets at St Mary’s carry more information than those in many churches and the congregation is invited to take them away each week both to use the prayers in their devotions and also to read the notices which are printed therein.
An audio relay of the services is carried in the Synod Hall and in the Meeting Room (close to the Synod Hall toilets).
Members of the congregation with young children seeking sanctuary during quiet parts if the service are welcome to use the Meeting Room which is located on the Synod Hall level next to the Toilets. This room has an audio relay of the services from the church.
Members of the congregation who are breastfeeding infants are welcome to do so anywhere on the premises.
Baby changing facilities are available in the accessible toilet on Church Level in the corridor. (From the church go through the door on the side of the church near the front on the pulpit side.
This website uses WordPress and a recent version of the Genesis framework. This has been deliberately chosen to aid web accessibility. The Genesis Accessibility plugin is used on the site in order to try to make the site easier to navigate using screen-readers.
Audio and Loop System
There is an audio Loop System fitted in the church but there is no loop currently fitted in the Synod Hall.
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.