Security in These Troubling Times
We began this week with one of the saddest events in U.S. history. The First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, was worshipping when an active shooter opened fire on a congregation during worship murdering 26 people. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones in this act of senseless evil. We want to also offer our prayers specifically for First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. Can we imagine the pain, grief, and loss experienced by this congregation? May the God who is able, walk with them through this dark and evil valley of death.
Once again, we are left with sadness and another mass shooting. This time, it is closer to home, as it is a church. As we will pray for the victims’ families, those wounded, and the church, I would imagine many churches across America are thinking about safety.
We have been thinking about safety at Shalimar UMC. On many occasions, I have given thanks to God for Ed Keller, a member and volunteer of our congregation. About one and a half years ago, Ed came and shared with me he felt the Lord was leading him to a specific ministry. What was the ministry? He felt led to help Shalimar UMC become more secure. He also considered what God placed on his heart to be a ministry.
We gave Ed our blessing to proceed and soon he formed a team of volunteers to work with him. This newly formed security team is able to communicate with each other and works under the radar. They have a purpose to assess anything on our campus that is potentially unsafe. In the past year, they have been a big help being ready to respond when and if needed. They have also done a good job of keeping a low profile, so not to hinder the Shalimar UMC’s need to extend hospitality to all the people that attend and participate in the church.
In addition to the security team, earlier this year, our Trustees and Church Council approved taking the step of adding a Sherriff’s Deputy on campus for our worship services and to provide a presence during our weekday children’s programs. We have grown to appreciate the presence of a Sherriff’s Deputy on campus as a precautionary step for safety.
These two steps of adding a security team and adding a Sherriff’s Deputy are two steps of making our church campus safer. We have also added better lighting and trimmed overgrown hedges to add greater visibility to our campus. The security plan is proactive and developing additional steps as they seem prudent. We as a church are grateful to implement changes, when determined it is for the good and safety of our church.
In these troubling times, we need worship more than ever. The children need safety more than ever. I am so grateful to Ed Keller and the Security Team for providing steps and a growing plan for our safety. May the Lord bless all the churches everywhere to go forward with the good news of Jesus Christ! God is greater than the Evil One and His goodness will prevail over evil in the end! Our prayers go out to all affected in the shootings of First Baptist Sutherland Springs.