Security is a loaded topic these days (pun intended). Not only have we reordered our priorities since 9/11, we are collectively trying to get our minds around it in new ways since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut when our children were killed.
As citizens of the United we struggle with balancing security and freedom. As Christians, we look to God for our ultimate peace and security, but we also know the power of sin, evil, and guns in the wrong hands. How do we trust the presence of the Spirit in every human being and respect their dignity and at the same time take precautions so that we are not stupid in the face of real threats.
This is the dance that we have been engaging in this spring at St. Stephen’s as we create a new safety plan at the school and church. St. Stephen’s School has engaged a State Department Security professional to consult on the development of a comprehensive plan. While it is still in formation, one of the steps we at the church have taken is to institute a sign in procedure for visitors to our church on weekdays. Ours is a very open school campus. We collectively need to know who is on our site. You will be asked to sign in and out when you come into the church during weekdays. This is not to intimidate you or to be inhospitable. Instead, we want to know who is on our campus so we and you can be safe. Similarly, we will be examining the role of our ushers on Sunday in light of what we learn.
Maintaining a welcoming environment that is governed by love and not by fear is driving value. We cannot exercise our educational mission, if our students are not safe. What we do in our church communities sends a message and a tone to our broader context. May we risk trust for the sake of relationships, but let’s also be smart about it.