Several SUMC staff and volunteers attended a Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Houses of Worship Safety Summit on August 10. The summit was intended to facilitate the sharing of information, concerns, and ideas with county religious leaders related to safety at their respective places of worship.

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The agenda included security challenges specific to faith-based communities, what to do if there is an active threat of violence, law enforcement responses, and emergency response plans.

LCSO offers a free safety and security survey to all houses of worship in Loudoun County. Law enforcement officers will examine the facility and point out vulnerabilities and recommend mitigations. They can also offer assistance for making emergency plans and forming safety and security teams. Your Church Council and Board of Trustees is interested in taking advantage of this offer. But the survey and advice only goes so far. A plan that sits on a shelf and collects dust is useless. We need someone to lead this project. We will need volunteers to form and join a safety and security team. The purpose then of this article, is to gage the interest of our members to see if it is possible to organize such an effort. There are a couple members willing to engage in the planning phase. We’ll need several others to join the team, train, exercise the plan and operate at church events.

If you feel this is a way that you can help, please contact Jim Talbert or the church office. Obviously, any member with law enforcement, fire, rescue, emergency medical or emergency management training and experience would be especially helpful, but all are welcome.