A Word from Laura: Creating Safe and Welcoming Space

This upcoming Tuesday, June 12, Western’s Building and Facilities Manager, Sterling Thomas, will present a proposal for contracting with a local agency for Sunday morning security personnel.  Anticipating questions, here is some more information:
  • This step grows out of conversations from last year’s session and deacons.  Responsibility for Western’s security was built into Sterling’s position description, with the hope that he could assess our needs and recommend next steps.  The church budget for 2018 also anticipated the need for security.
  • The ultimate hope is to create safe, welcoming space for all who enter our doors.  Western’s commitments to racial and social justice remain priorities for how we live and grow as a community, and our security personnel will be here to be part of our wide welcome.  They will not be called a “guard,” given that they are not here to serve as a deterrent.  The person in charge of Sunday morning security will be consistent and approachable, dressed in a simple collared shirt with a logo on the front.
  • Our security personnel will not carry a concealed weapon and will have experience de-escalating situations and responding to crises with a calm and steady manner.  They will work with ushers and other leaders to provide coordinated responses when necessary.
Western remains committed to becoming a church with a welcome as wide as God’s own.  Having security personnel does not mean we will start doing background checks on worshipers, unless you work with our children or youth.  Nor will security personnel guarantee that our church will never have issues with safety.  And yet having someone in place is an important step in widening our welcome, enhancing our worship and community for all who come through our doors, whether families with children, neighbors experiencing homelessness, visitors with the IMF, longtime members  – or a combination of those.
I look forward to sharing more information.  Please let me or session members know if you have other questions or concerns.
Grace and peace,