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Robin Bell
District Superintendent
Robin Bell

Angela Dennis
Executive Assistant
Angela Dennis

(636) 891-8004 ext 22
Fax: (636) 891-9700
301 Sovereign Court, Suite 100
Ballwin, Missouri 63011-4435

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Keeping Your Church Safe From Violence

posted on January 06

In the wake of recent church shootings, the calm and sense of security of sanctuaries across the country have been shattered. Church leaders find themselves grappling not only with the pastoral and theological questions of members, but also practical concerns about how to keep their flock safe. 

As United Methodists, we believe Jesus calls us to be peacemakers, to work for, and witness to, a world without violence. Our official church statement, “Our Call to End Gun Violence,” urges United Methodists to work toward the prevention of gun violence through measures such as prayer, study, the banning of firearms on church property and legislative advocacy.   

Even as we work to reduce gun violence, we also acknowledge the reality of violence in our world and the need for ensuring the safety of our congregations. It is important to communicate the need for, and develop, plans for responding to violence and other emergency situations. Having an action plan in place will help ensure you can react appropriately and quickly if something does happen. 

Below, you will find information and resources to help you plan for the safety of your church. Also be sure to check with your district superintendent or conference office for advice.

Thousands join an outdoor vigil in Pittsburgh for victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. Photo by the Rev. Dawn Hand.

United Methodists speak out in wake of synagogue shooting

United Methodists contemplate the proper response to deadly shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Read More

Linglestown Life United Methodist Church, in Harrisburg, Pa. had training Oct. 9 on what to do in the case of an active shooter. John Lubawski of the ALICE Training Institute led the session. Photo courtesy the Rev. George Reynolds.

Churches bear down on safety after Texas attack

Massacre at Baptist church prompts United Methodist churches to seek active shooter training. Read More

Church violence: Protecting your members

United Methodist Insurance urges churches to develop a violence preparedness plan, just as you have disaster preparedness plans. Find practical tips for starting this process. Read More

Churches should have emergency plans in place for any unforeseen circumstance. Image by Nick Youngson, CC BY-SA 3.0

How to prepare a church emergency plan

For the safety of the congregation, church leaders should develop a church emergency preparation and response. Find some very simple steps to assist you in developing your plan. Read More

Protecting your congregation when the unthinkable happens

These guidelines for dealing with an active shooter on the premises are provided by United Methodist Insurance to help ensure the safety of your congregation. Read More

Recent church shootings have shattered the peace of sanctuaries across the nation. Photo courtesy of Image by Bigstock/Tuayai.

Churches and gun violence: 7 practical preparation tips

In the wake of the latest church shooting in Sutherland, Texas, church leaders are asking what steps they can, and should, take to protect their congregations. Read More

Church leaders attend the Safe Church Summit at Cathedral of the Rockies. Image by United Methodist Communications.

Keeping Churches Safe and Welcoming

What is your church's policy on guns in church? How do you keep children safe? A safe church summit started an important dialogue. View

Resources to protect your church from violence

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers numerous resources to assist faith-based and community organizations with their efforts to prepare for all types of hazards, whether natural or man-made. Read More

We pray with and for those healing from tragic loss. Photo via

‘How can this be?’ A prayer following a church shooting

United Methodists offer a prayer for comfort, peace, and guidance following tragic violence in a sanctuary. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Read More

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