UCC Counsel: Local Church Security: Resources and Best Practices

UCC Counsel: Local Church Security: Resources and Best Practices

A broad welcome is a cornerstone of ministry for many United Church of Christ local churches.  They fully embody the UCC’s adage that  “no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”  How does a church attend to the safety of its congregants and pastors while continuing to live out its religious belief about welcoming all, and creating a just world for all?  This article provides resources for Local Churches interested in strengthening their security and guarding against violence and harassment.

Over the past few years, some United Church of Christ local churches have been targeted by extremist groups and other groups and individuals that attack the churches’ theological positions on antiracism, the inclusion and affirmation of LBGTQIA+ people, and the churches’ other justice ministries.  In some instances, church property has been physically attacked through firebombing and acts of vandalism, including destroying or damaging rainbow flags, Black Lives Matter banners, or church signs indicating the church is an Open and Affirming congregation.  Other churches have had their worship disrupted by visitors from these groups.  In several instances, conversations between pastors and visitors were covertly audio and video recorded by the visitors and then heavily edited to make the pastor’s comments on particular issues seem extreme, and posted to social media and other extremist websites.  Those postings have caused additional threats against church property, pastors, and congregations.

Preparing your church to protect itself from violence and harassment is good ministry.  Time and attention spent on safeguarding the church’s resources now may avoid damage to critical infrastructure, including people and property, that will disrupt the church’s essential ministries. 

Read the full blog post, including links to numerous resources, here.

SNEUCC hosted a Church Safety Workshop a few weeks ago in partnership with the UCC Insurance Board, use this form to receive the recording and resources.


Heather Kimmel

Heather Kimmel is the United Church of Christ General Counsel

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