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Holiday Houses of Worship Safety

Holiday Safety Tips when you are attending services at your house of worship from well-known author Grant Cunningham:

· Like many people, you may decide to worship during this season. Many of the same recommendations apply as discussed in previous discussions, though at least you know ahead of time where you’ll be. Again, manage your distractions. Though many congregations have security teams in place, don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security.

· Pay some attention to who’s coming and going. If you’re in a smaller congregation, watch those people you don’t know or haven’t seen before. You may even alert the security team if you see someone who concerns you. Pay particular attention to those who seem ill at ease or are obviously agitated. It’s not uncommon for family violence to erupt at this time of year.

· Like you would at a mall or restaurant, know where the exits are. If you attend a particular church regularly, have that conversation before you leave home. Keep it light and non-threatening -- your children don’t need to have their holiday turn into a fearful watch for the bad guy!

· Always have your cell phone and a high-intensity flashlight with you. You may choose to carry a concealed handgun but be aware of the laws in your jurisdiction. Many states forbid concealed carry in houses of worship, and you’ll need to make your own moral decision whether to go armed or not. If your church has an armed security team, think about their reaction if during an attack you jump up with your own gun.

· Finally, as stated before, if you’re in a position where defending yourself becomes a necessity, act decisively. Make the decision ahead of time that you will do whatever is necessary to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, then do it. If you recognize that you have a lethal threat, deal with it in an appropriate manner. Once someone has decided that he or she will harm or kill others, the time for the compassion of the season is over.



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