The terrible, criminal tragedy at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday was horrifying. I cannot read about the victims without weeping. It seems no outrage is sufficient to provoke Congress to protect the American public from deranged citizens armed with military-style assault weapons.
We cannot stop living – working, playing, praying together – and so we must make ourselves as secure as peaceful people opposed to violence can be. To that end, I will be reviewing the “UUFR Security Team Manual” – created in 2015, but not adopted by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh – for guidance in securing our spiritual home and the safety of its members.
As an immediate action, I am calling on members of the congregation to volunteer to serve as ushers on Sunday mornings. Hospitality will be your primary purpose, but safety and security in the event of a fire or crisis will be a necessary part of the training you will receive. Please email me to indicate your willingness to serve ([email protected]) and thank you in advance for committing yourself to a warm, welcoming, and safe religious community for all.
Further information about a congregation-wide safety plan will be forthcoming. In the meantime, please contact me if you need pastoral support or guidance in talking about this tragedy with your children.
Rev. Dr. Justin Osterman