That’s right! That is how wacky this world has become. There is a need to address the safety and security of church members during the worship services and anytime a group is gathering at the church building. But this is not new at all; we just haven’t seen it that much in our area; but it is a growing concern.Security personnel in churches go back to the 1600s, when the local parishes used security to protect property and the congregation.
You might say, “But this is the 21st Century; surely, we don’t need security at church? Church is a place of peace and love. We are perfectly safe here.”
You may never have an issue while you are at church; and I pray you never do. But, let me remind you of this story from 2009 in Maryville, Illinois. Fred Winters, the pastor of the First Baptist Church, was shot and killed during the 8 a.m. service, and the attacker and two church members suffered knife wounds in the attack. The gunman entered during the service and walked up to the pulpit, exchanged words with the pastor and fired four shots, hitting the pastor’s Bible and then the pastor.
But there are other reasons for thinking about security at church. On March 27, 1994 in Piedmont, Alabama, the Goshen United Methodist Church was hit by a tornado during the worship service. Twenty church members lost their lives that day. With security in place, plans can be made to ensure that all possible efforts will be taken to help guide church members to safety.
There are also the possibilities of fire breaking out during the services, as what happened in December 2012 in Belton, Texas. On December 12, a fire broke out during a Vigil Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe service at Belton’s Christ the King Catholic Church. There were about 100 members of the congregation that were in attendance and were ushered out of the building. It appears that there may have been some plan in place to deal with such an emergency. And there are the occasional health related issues that happen during the church services. I have seen a few instances where a person may pass out, have seizures or someone fall and injure themselves at the church building.
There are so many things that can happen and like we have said before, you must be on the alert. There are things you can do to be prepared. First, you need to assess the potential problems you might have. Second, have a plan to deal with these issues. Come up with a fire evacuation plan; get an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and have people trained to use it; get weather radios, and have them turned on; have a place to gather in case of bad weather. There are other needed items and actions that can be taken, but the most important step, is to take the first step and decide to not wait until something happens.
If you need help in accessing your church’s risk, give us a call here at Madison Security Group 256-232-7030, mention you read this article and we will give your church a FREE no obligation security assessment.
By: Brian Black of Madison Security Group