Presbyterian Disaster Assistance [PDA] has come alongside our Presbytery coordinating resources from the Office of Mid Council Relations and the US Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. We pass these resources on to you for use with your congregation or New Worshiping Community as you work to discern the best ways to keep the people of your church safe. Check, too, with your insurer for additional resources and help in developing safety policies and procedures.
From the Office of the General Assembly
Weapons at Church: The Unthinkable in God’s House—A message from General Counsel Mike Kirk as our prayers and lamentations continue
We like to think of our churches as places of safety and refuge. A place to commune with God and join in fellowship with our church community. Unfortunately, others view churches as targets. White supremacist Dylan Roof murdered nine people at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina in 2015. Recently a Las Vegas man with a grudge against Taiwan entered the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California, and shot members and friends of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church who were gathered at a celebratory luncheon.
It is unfortunate that church leaders must think about how to prevent such violence or how to respond to it if it happens. But sessions should discuss church safety. There are many resources available for churches, including the following:
- Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship (FEMA)
- Safety for Faith Based Events at Houses of Worship (Department of Homeland Security)
- Active Shooter Resources (FBI)
- Five Options for Survival (Brotherhood Mutual)
- Active Shooter (The Insurance Board)
- Developing an emergency plan for violence on church property (Creating Safe Ministries, PCUSA)
Congregations and mid councils should consider organizing a committee to discuss and make recommendations for safety policies and procedures.
Resources from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
- “Synopsis of Response in Human-Caused Disaster” National Response Team
- Resources on Human Caused Disasters
Resources from the US Department of Justice Community Relations Service
- Preventing and Responding to Bias and Hate Incidents Against Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Communities
- Protecting Places of Worship Through Education and Dialogue
- Educating and Supporting Communities Through the Bias Incidents and Hate Crimes Forum
Resources from the Department of Homeland Security
- Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) Field Operations Contact Sheet
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Resources
Resources from the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency