Between the horrific 9/11 breach of homeland security and the more local and recent terroristic act against the Petit family of Cheshire, our INSECURITY LEVEL has gone way up! As recently as this morning, the body of a New Britain home invasion victim was discovered in Bristol. Any sense of security we may have once held is gone forever.
We’re not absolutely safe anywhere, not at work, not in our own homes….and not even in church. The plethora of sexual allegations against, especially but not exclusively, the Catholic Church has caused one level of insecurity. It’s a foolish church indeed that doesn’t do background checks on children’s workers in addition to taking other precautionary measures. I know one local church that is about to launch an awareness program for its kids called “Good Touch, Bad Touch.” This same program has also been approved by the Stratford School System.
But child safety is not the only security issue that churches need to be concerned with these days. How soon have we forgotten what just happened in Colorado? You just never know. Just the other day, on Good Friday here in New Haven, a woman leading a prayer meeting was punched pretty hard by a large, severely mentally-challenged man who, as it was explained by his caretaker, “likes Karaoke and wanted her microphone.” Everyone was shocked by what had happened in the blink of an eye. It only takes a split second for your world to be turned around, or at the extreme, for a life to be ended. There was a security person on hand (yes, in church) who ultimately condemned himself and became emotional with the thought, “what if he had a knife?” It wasn’t the fault of Security personnel; not this time anyway. If it were to happen again, yes, shame on us. It was a wake-up call for all of us! We thank God for the warning! I must say that the particular church involved has significantly tightened up its security.
Don’t be surprised, that pious-looking usher may look like he's praying, but he probably has his eyes open and just might be “packin’ heat!” There are no more safe places; only prepared people. Prayer is a great place to start. As the Psalmist declared, "Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain" (Psalm 127:1b). What's true for cities is true for churches. We need watchmen who have been rendered effective by an Almighty God.Here's another step you might want to take. It's a website of a company that specializes in church security. If you know of any others, let me know and I'll post them.