Church security becoming a priority for many

Church security becoming a priority for many
December 07
06:00 2017

Amid tragic events in churches around the country in recent years, security in the church has been a conversation for many congregations.  Seeing the need to pass along the knowledge of security, former federal agent Bobby Kimbrough will hold a security workshop for churches on Saturday, Dec. 9 at Greater Church, 5095 Lansing Drive, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Kimbrough is working in conjunction with the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity (MCWSV), the local NAACP chapter and the Winston-Salem Police Department.  He says he is not advocating for armed security inside the church walls but instead wants to provide the knowledge and have the churches do with it as they may.

“Basically, what we are going to do is orientate worship leaders about security in their places of worship,” said Kimbrough.  “Basically, from a safe sanctuary perspective showing how to have a safe parking lot to a safe pulpit.

“I just want to give them a basic understanding of security because a lot of people think security is just walking around with a gun on your hip, but it’s a lot more to it than that,” he continued.  “Security is everything from presentation to observation to even how you articulate yourself when speaking to people.”

Kimbrough says many pastors are not aware of potential security issues that may occur in the church not only from outsiders but also from those within their own congregations.  He feels that he just needs to present the knowledge to them and what they do with that information is “totally on them.”

This is not the first time Kimbrough has shared his knowledge of security with a church.  Some years back, he was asked by Bishop Sir Walter Mack Jr. of Union Baptist to do just that for his church.  Kimbrough says he was reluctant at first because he didn’t see a need for security at a church but soon came around once he spoke with Mack.

Bishop Todd Fulton of the MCWSV said he went to Kimbrough with the idea of the workshop because of the increased violence in places of worship in recent years.  He feels that getting out in front of this issue instead of reacting to it is the best course of action.

“The biggest thing is just making sure we are safe and that we do have safety plans in place and exit strategies in case something does happen,” said Fulton.  “It’s kind of like when we were in school doing fire drills, even though you may never have a fire, you’ll know what to do if one does occur.

“I definitely feel this will be a success because when your parishioners start asking questions about something, it means it’s a real concern for them,” he continued.

The Rev. Alvin Carlisle, president of the local NAACP chapter, says with the dramatic increase of violence and threats to places of worship, security in the church regardless of denomination is now a necessity.

“I hope the training he [Kimbrough] has to offer is never needed in the church but it could definitely save lives,” said Carlisle.  “All houses of faith are dealing with the same issue, so not only does it show we support each other but also it shows we support each other in keeping our houses of worship safe.”

Kimbrough says the security needs for each church may be different depending on size.  He feels the church is sacred in the black community so safety should be of the utmost importance. 

Kimbrough is offering these services for free to the churches that come out for the workshop.  He says he feels the city has been so good to him, so when someone came to him about the idea, he felt it was his duty to give back to the city that has given him so much.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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