Monday, December 31, 2007

Security at Church?

WASHINGTON, DC--- As is often my custom when I’m home in Richmond, I’ll venture up to the nation’s capital (only a short 90-minute drive) for church or to visit friends or check on things related to whatever project on which I’m working at the time.

After all, I lived there for four years as a student at Howard University from 1988 to 1992.

It’s always great to return to the church where I was an active member — the Metropolitan Baptist Church—in NW Washington. I always look forward to Sunday services at my beloved Metropolitan.

As I learned at Sunday's service, a big change is coming there.

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times in which we live—As of Tuesday (New Year’s Day), a security policy goes into effect at this Washington, DC church.

Here’s the announcement as it appeared in Metropolitan’s December 30th church bulletin:

Safety in the Sanctuary—We are committed to the safety of all who come to worship God. Therefore, beginning January 1, 2008, no luggage, briefcases, shopping bags, or other personal bags, with the exception of diaper bags and hand bags, will be allowed in the sanctuary during worship services or in any other part of the building. Thank you for your cooperation as we seek to ensure your safety”

This is certainly noteworthy – although not entirely unexpected given recent events.

Earlier this month, two people were killed and two were injured in a shooting at a Colorado Springs Church. It was later linked to a separate shooting incident in Arvada, Colo.

But at the same time, did we ever think there would be a day when one has to be concerned about his/her security in houses of worship? Regardless of your religious or spiritual leanings, there are just certain things that we consider sacred.

Temples, synagogues, houses of prayer—they’re just not places we usually have to be on-guard.

Or, am I being naïve? Yes, we never know who might walk in.. especially in a city like Washington, DC.

As Metropolitan Baptist gets set to move to Largo Maryland (see new site at right) in the next two years, I wonder whether this type of security policy will be necessary in the suburban church like it is in the so-called inner city.

Oh well, it’s something to think about. That’s what this web log is about—a place to comment or reflect on things we experience.

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