This is a very difficult subject for your Board of Directors to bring to your attention and yet we feel it needs to be shared.
Churches have a long tradition of being a place of security and sanctuary, but that traditional thinking is being shaken. Whether due to tragedy in a Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, a Baptist church in Alabama, a Jewish Community Center in Kansas or other incidents, many churches and their members are raising concerns about security. One writer stated that, “It’s a tragic reality of our world today that churches must consider the possibility of … violence happening on their premises.”
Recently, some concerns were raised when we received a troubling post on the POP Facebook page from a sender not previously known to POP. As a result of that post, the sender was blocked and the post removed. We were advised that the poster could just be a kid doing something stupid but regardless, we felt it proper diligence to notify the Palatine Police Department who contacted federal law enforcement. We have since met with these organizations, who have indicated that they will continue to investigate. There have been no additional posts to our page and no similar post or incidents reported by other local churches. We have been advised to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity. To that extent we feel compelled to ask you to do the same.
The reality of our broken and sinful world is that we may not be able to prevent events from ever happening but we can do a lot to increase overall security.
- The first of these is just be watchful and report any activities you feel out of the ordinary in our parking lots and around the premises to staff members or the board – whomever you see first!
- If no one is around for you to inform then call the Palatine Police Department by dialing 911. Be aware and know where safe and accessible exits are located.
We do not wish to create any undue concern but we do ask for you to be watchful for the safety of one another. We will keep you informed as to how this investigation unfolds.
We have tried to anticipate a couple of your questions below but if you have other concerns we would encourage you to go PopPalatine.org and under the Discover tab select Church Governance. Scroll down and send us message or you can drop a note in any Board member's mailbox.
In all these things we pray the peace of the Lord in the hearts of all of his children. Let us be unified as His church and all be salt and lights to the love of Christ.
Questions & Answers
What did the post on Facebook say?
With a good deal of misspelling, the post cautioned us: “One day u people will burn in hellfire! U people will strictly punish by Allah Almighty! Beware! Beware!”
Is this seen as a ‘credible’ threat?
We pray that it is not but it is being investigated by local & federal law enforcement to determine the answer to that question. We chose not to ignore it but how serious it may be is unknown.
Does POP have an Emergency Plan?
We do and it is quite comprehensive and something we are encouraging all leaders to revisit and become more familiar with. Awareness and notification of unusual behavior or concerns is the key to keeping each other safe. If you want to review a copy, contact Parish Administrator Jeff Horvath.
Are we considering other security measures, e.g. security people, cameras?
We will be discussing this issue in greater detail but we are not adding any additional security at this time. We have gathered a good deal of information on what could be done and what has been done at “mega-churches” but we are making no changes at this time. Letting you know and asking you to be vigilant and aware is the best and most effective security measure.