INDUSTRY — When Pastor Lynda Giard said “anyone can come in” to Shorey Chapel Congregational United Church of Christ, she meant it.

The congregation gathered Sunday to dedicate and celebrate a new handicap ramp for the church.

“So many people have trouble with the steps,” she said. “Several older members couldn’t do it. There was a ramp but the door entrance wasn’t right for a wheelchair.”

When Giard became pastor two years ago, the congregation was talking about a new ramp, she said this week.

“It was expensive to get the right incline and wood,” she said of the estimated $18,000 project.  “As a small church with an older congregation, we didn’t have the energy to go fundraise.”

The members continued talking about a design, wood and how to do it, she said.

After member Barbara Titcomb died in June, her family offered the ramp from her house. It was about three years old, was screwed together and made of pressure-treated wood, she said.

Titcomb was unable to attend the church the last few months of her life because she couldn’t get in, Giard said.

Every board on Titcomb’s ramp was taken apart and cut to fit the needs of the new ramp. Some wood was purchased to make the necessary platforms and the cost was only $2,500, she said.

“Barbara would be so thrilled,” she added.

Titcomb’s children, their spouses and other guests joined the congregation Sunday for the dedication. Member Emily Floyd, 97, helped Giard cut the ribbon. Giard thanked those who had supported the effort.

The community has responded telling Giard how welcoming the new ramp looks.

“So many churches are dying,” she said. “It looks like we’re there to stay.”

That was the intention when the community wanted a church building in 1889. Elizabeth Shorey Price suggested building a chapel and donated $500 for the building. D. Collins Luce and his wife donated the land. After the couple died, Price took on the expense and finished the project.

The church was named after her parents and was dedicated on Nov. 10, 1891, according to the history on the church website.

“It was to be a chapel for the village,” Giard said.

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