Church safety seminars are sadly necessary

Published 12:11 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2018

There is a perception across the world that sacred places are becoming increasingly unsafe — and understandably so.

Consider these headlines in  recent years:

Dec. 10, 2007: “Colorado Church Gunman Had Grudge Against Christian Group, Cops Say”

Email newsletter signup

July 28, 2008: “Affidavit: Man admits church shooting, says liberals should die”

Aug. 5, 2012: “Wisconsin Shooting: 7 People Killed At Sikh Temple, Including Shooter”

April 15, 2014: “Alleged Kansas Jewish center gunman charged with murder”

June 17, 2015: “Charleston Church Shooting: White Gunman Kills 9 At Historic Black Church”

Sept. 24, 2017: “Nashville church shooting: Masked gunman kills woman, injures 7.”

Nov. 5, 2017: 26 dead in Texas Baptist church shooting, victims range in age from 5 to 72”

Nov. 15, 2017: “Church shootings so common, there’s a database for them.

You get the picture.

For obvious reasons, violence that occurs within and against our places of worship are particularly abhorrent and have left congregations looking for ways to equip themselves to protect against attacks like these.

Whatever the religious affiliation, these sacred places are where people head to find comfort and peace. Churches are sanctuaries where we can find spiritual well-being, build lasting connections and feel safe.

That is until recent events have left many congregations wondering how they can protect one another from the potentially dangerous act of sitting in church.

Locally, the Clark County Sheriff’s Department and Clark County Attorney’s Offices partnered to offer a church security seminar this week.

The free seminar was presented by Sheepdog Seminars, a group devoted specifically to teaching churches about security measures to protect congregations.

According to Sheepdog Seminars, “The final count for the number of violent deaths on church and faith-based property for 2017 was 117. That surpasses the all-time high set in 2015, which was 77 such deaths.”

While we hope the heinous crimes committed against churches around the world will not prevent people from finding solace and sanctity in these places, we do understand the need and desire of people to learn more about how to prevent or respond in these situations.

Sadly, these crimes are a reality that must be faced. As the saying goes, “It is better to be safe than sorry.”

And Sheriff Berl Perdue echoed those sentiments.

This seminar will be the first step to helping our local church build a community of leaders devoted to protecting the places that are sacred to them and their religious brothers and sisters.

We wish this was not something we needed, but we commend our sheriff and county attorney for taking the lead in bringing this seminar to our community.

Protecting all places of worship is a good thing, and we hope those who participated left with the valuable information needed.