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Living wisely in an age of terror

Posted by Pastor Mark Toone on

I have the pleasure of mentoring three young pastors-in-training every Tuesday morning. We cover a wide variety of topics that will better prepare them for a life of vocational Christian ministry—one example of our Beyond These Walls commitment to “Releasing Leaders.”

This week, however, we were discussing a topic that, I promise you, never came up in my seminary training 35 years ago: an Active Shooter Response Plan. Even as we are recovering from the shock of the horrific attack on that little church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, our thoughts cannot help but turn to questions like, “What if…what if something like that were to happen here? What is our plan?”

Well, I hope you won’t be surprised to discover that we do have a plan and have had for several years. In fact, ironically, next week Chapel Hill will host an advanced training two-day certification class by the ALICE Training Institute (which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate). You can get more information about the ALICE Training Institute HERE.

This program is being co-hosted by Chapel Hill and the Gig Harbor Police Department and has been on the books for about a year. It is a tribute to the good leadership of Dan Griswold and other members of our staff that they were thinking ahead like this. Chapel Hill will have three members participating in this training and when completed, they will be certified in-house ALICE instructors.

In addition to that, if you're a member of law enforcement (active or retired) or have received law enforcement training, and you would like to be a part of our security response team, contact Dan Griswold at 253.853.0237.

And finally, we cannot adequately address this social crisis without attacking the root cause which is often mental illness. On this Veteran’s Day weekend you will hear of a new ministry from Celebrate Recovery called “Welcome Home.” This will offer a particular focus on the unique mental health care needs of returning veterans who are often traumatized by the violence they face on our behalf in far-flung regions of this war-torn world. “Welcome Home” will be a valuable and needed addition to our Celebrate Recovery ministry.

It is horrific to even have to think about things like “active shooters,” but I hope it is a comfort and encouragement to you to realize that members of your Chapel Hill leadership team are doing just that. Our goal is to do everything possible to protect those who worship and minister at our church and we take that responsibility very seriously.

This weekend I will preaching a majestic passage from Romans 5. In it Paul declares that we who have been justified by faith have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” May that same peace come over our troubled, troubled world. And may we be agents of God’s shalom.

Pastor Mark

P.S.  In case you missed it last weekend, we announced that we had just crossed the $ 1 million threshold in our Beyond These Walls campaign to eliminate our debt. Praise the Lord and thank you for your faithful generosity. The Session will host our next Beyond These Walls Town Hall meeting on Sunday, November 26, at 10:05 am in the Gathering Place. We are still in the early stages of this initiative, but this will be a chance for you to hear how our plans are unfolding.

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