We have seen an increased interest in matters involving church security, and it’s likely you have as well. Because we are always concerned about the safety of all, please consider the following when providing guidance to your churches.
- Plans should be in place to protect people from several types of adverse events, not only active shooter events (e.g., tornado, flood, fire, etc.). Your district emergency response team leaders are good resources as is UMCOR’s Connecting Neighbors Program.
- Keep in mind, a plan without training and rehearsal is less likely to be successful. Discuss plans regularly, and walk your community, including staff and volunteers, through the expected steps.
- While there may be active shooter risks, research shows that there are also risks from poorly thought out responses to active shooters. Local law enforcement and your insurance company are excellent resources for educating local church boards and committees on practices and policies.
- Our Social Principles and Annual Conference rules start with the presumption our churches are weapon-free zones. Practices that are inconsistent with this starting point should follow a thoughtful discernment and decision process.
- Your Safe Sanctuaries® Policy is a good place from which a discussion on active shooters might start. CongregationU, is offering an online training course on Active Shooter Situations in Church Settings.
- Every church has a unique context that should be taken into consideration when developing response plans to dangerous situations.