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Home / News / On the Tragedy in Texas and Church Safety and Security

On the Tragedy in Texas and Church Safety and Security

As we collectively mourn the tragedy in Sutherland Spring, Texas, Holy Infant takes action on church safety and security.

We join in prayer for the victims of this past Sunday’s horrific tragedy at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas. We extend our prayers to their families, friends, neighbors and to the first responders and others who came to their aid in the face of this grave injustice. We must not let violent and evil actions deter us from our moral obligation and right to gather as people of faith to worship God in peace and charity for all.

Parishes are the home of the Christian community. They are where the Gospel is proclaimed and celebrated, and where children and adults learn the tenets of their faith and how to put faith into action. Parish communities are not, however, immune to the dangers of the society in which we live. Acts of violence in our church communities are rare; nevertheless, in our rapidly changing society, it is important that we be prepared.

During the past few months Holy Infant has been engaged in dialog and action focused on parish safety and security. Parish leaders have attended regional and local conferences focused on a range of risk management issues specific to religious organizations. Comprehensive risk management requires churches to consider several potential areas of concern:

  •  Fire and Natural Disasters
  • Criminal Acts (i.e. Burglary, Robbery, Individual and Group Assaults, Vandalism, etc.)
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Accidents
  • Safe Environment of Children and Youth

 Several steps have been taken to address these matters:

  •  The parish has requested and received a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design Assessment from the Durham Police Department. The findings of this report will be addressed to a large degree through the new campus plan. Other recommendations will require further assessment for appropriate action.
  • Our Health Ministry is undertaking a review of programs associated with assistance with medical emergencies including CPR and AED training.
  • The parish and Diocese have well established policies and procedures with respect to the safe environment of children and youth.
  • New burglar and fire security systems upgrades have been installed.

Parish leaders recognize that the most important step is the development of comprehensive, formal safety and security protocols. Towards this objective, plans have been made for the formation of a Safety and Security Working Group, which will be tasked with the development of these protocols. It is our intention that this working group initiates this project early next year.

We ask that parishioners consider being part of this important effort, especially those who have been involved in law enforcement, fire safety and emergency medical services, and as greeters and hosts. We also intend to include those participating in the formation of children and youth and parish staff. If interested in joining this team, please contact Joyce Cervati, Chair-Parish Life Commission, at joyce.cervati@gmail.com.

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