Keeping Your Place of Worship Safe: Minneapolis Church Holds Security Workshop

October 13, 2018 10:24 PM

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church and Kingswood Security partnered with international security experts for a "Securing Your Place of Worship" workshop Saturday.

Presenters talked about safety with dozens of people including church leaders and volunteers. The discussions focused on securing and preventing violence in public buildings such as churches and schools. James Densley was one of the speakers. He's known for his research into group violence.


"Churches are meant to be and designed to be open and inviting spaces by definition," said Densley.

Densley said the welcoming atmosphere can present safety challenges.

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"Churches can actually become these sort of crucibles for acts of violence, for domestic disputes, for grievances that people have," said Densley.

Senior pastor at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church Judy Zabel said the goal is to provide hospitality but also keep your congregation safe.

"We are people that don't live in fear. Christians believe that we are not going to live in fear, but it's important to be prudent, to be careful and to keep your eyes open and watch," said Zabel.

Densley recommends putting a person at the front desk of a congregation and keeping some of the doors locked, but he added creating a safe environment involves more than a camera and safety.

"Knowing who your congregation is, knowing the challenges that they have and providing them with appropriate support," said Densley.


Ashley Zilka

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