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Church members gather for a musical program by the Mark Beachy Family Singers following a potluck supper at Leipsic (Ohio) United Methodist Church. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Keeping your church safe from violence

 

In the wake of recent church shootings, the calm and sense of security of sanctuaries across the country have been shattered. Church leaders find themselves grappling not only with the pastoral and theological questions of members, but also practical concerns about how to keep their flock safe. 

As United Methodists, we believe Jesus calls us to be peacemakers, to work for, and witness to, a world without violence. Our official church statement, “Our Call to End Gun Violence,” urges United Methodists to work toward the prevention of gun violence through measures such as prayer, study, the banning of firearms on church property and legislative advocacy.   

Even as we work to reduce gun violence, we also acknowledge the reality of violence in our world and the need for ensuring the safety of our congregations. It is important to communicate the need for, and develop, plans for responding to violence and other emergency situations. Having an action plan in place will help ensure you can react appropriately and quickly if something does happen. 

Below, you will find information and resources to help you plan for the safety of your church. Also be sure to check with your district superintendent or conference office for advice.

 
Linglestown Life United Methodist Church, in Harrisburg, Pa. had training Oct. 9 on what to do in the case of an active shooter. John Lubawski of the ALICE Training Institute led the session. Photo courtesy the Rev. George Reynolds.

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