Sunday was the first Palm Sunday Service in more than three years for many churchgoers. With more people out and about during Holy Week, churches are reassessing security.
“We come together as people of faith to pray, sing, and worship, and we’ve been kept apart on the holiest day of the year… People are energized and eager to spend time with “Rev. Tim Ahrens of Columbus’ First Congregational Church remarked as much.
The security of the downtown Columbus church, according to Rev. Ahrens, begins with awareness of each individual and their surroundings.
“The first step is to make individuals more alert, aware and trained. Step two is to have the kind of exterior security that we put in place, as well as to teach our leaders and security personnel,” he stated.
Mark S. Williams serves on the safety committee and as the church’s Director of Faith Formation.
“We do have a safety and security committee,” Williams explained, “where we make sure we have specific processes in place if something were to happen.”
To keep everyone safe, security includes cameras and guards both inside and outside the buildings. The facility also hired Homeland Security to conduct an evaluation of the structure and obtained a government grant from FEMA to improve security.
“And if we do have an active shooter, we train with “Run Hide Fight,” so we’ve practiced all of those techniques.” “All of our doors have security bars,” Williams explained.
Churchgoers expressed their delight to be back in a time when we all need each other in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“Fellowship, worship, and stewardship are the three most important things, and you can’t have all three unless you’re all together as one,” says Paven Peter, who has been visiting the church with his family since 2007.
“Even if there are periods of uncertainty and danger, it is all the more incentive to demonstrate that we can unite as one and face adversity together.”
With Easter approaching, Rev. Ahrens stated that the church is more than ready to accommodate big crowds and welcome everyone.
“Be alert, prepared, and vigilant. “These are all things that Jesus says all the time, and we need to take them to heart and live them fully,” he said.