Seventeen participants shared concerns and ideas about gun violence and the church during a free video chat hosted by the Ohio and Indiana-Kentucky conferences. In that open video chat of Nov. 21 several Insurance Board representatives and persons from our congregations discussed how to deal with fear, safety in churches, and liabilities.
Major threads in the conversation included:
- Let’s talk about comprehensive safety plans in our churches, not just shooter policies. How to be ready for natural disasters, health incidents, facilities emergencies, accidents as well as active shooters (which are still very rare).
- Use active or retired police and other trained personnel to coach your church safety team about handling armed intruders.
- Find out what schools and community organizations around you are doing for protection.
- Find a balance between safety practices and generous hospitality (not always easy to do, by the way!). Consider non-violent ways to address violence.
- Discuss resources available from United Church Insurance Board.
- For training materials and programs FEMA and Alice Training have wonderful resources. This institute works with UC Insurance Board and offers practical easy to learn steps for congregational safety.
- Share your church safety plans, procedures and resources with others. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we will post them.
Also note a discussion guide prepared by The Christian Century titled “Can We Talk About Guns.” One article in this guide observes there are 12 times as many persons carrying concealed weapons than there are police officers in the United States. We need to talk about our inclinations toward violent response and recrimination in light of the gospel we seek to embody.
All of the Insurance Board resources can be downloaded from this page. We have also collected resources on church safety and gun violence and how to help children, youth and families address disasters and violence faithfully on the Holy Experiments Pinterest Page.
Not familiar with Pinterest? Here’s how to get started. (But, you don’t need to join Pinterest to look at these resources.)
Watch the full recording of the video chat on our Vimeo page. Additional resources can be found on our Pinterest Page.
Together let’s work toward that peaceful beloved community which God imagines for this earth!