Yesterday, Tuesday, August 23, 2022, I and some of our staff from Cedar Hill Baptist Church attended the ‘Prevention of Targeted Violence for Houses of Worship’ hosted by Representative Scott Perry in Harrisburg.
This training was led by the United States Secret Service Threat Assessment division. It was attended by about 400 people. I thought I would pass along my thoughts.
About 30 minutes into the training I felt I was wasting my time and by the end of the morning training I was concerned. The emphasis was on identifying potential threats within our congregations and within our communities. Here are my concerns:
- Every example that the instructor used was an outside attacker – never one from within the congregations membership or attendees.
- The emphasis was really on alerting local law enforcement to suspicious persons. I think they just wanted to have clergy turn in church members who had radical opinions.
- Whether or not anyone of us in that room are qualified to make these assessments was pushed aside.
- I believe that it is vital that we take caution in securing our facility and our congregations – but that was not discussed in this meeting.
- This training seemed to leave the door open to potential over-stepping. Things deemed normal 50 years ago are today radical and such will be the case years from now as well.
- Never – not one time – was the idea of Clergy confidentiality ever mentioned.
Just some of my thoughts. I did not see anyone else from our fellowship there – so I thought I would pass my review along. Let’s say I “took one for the team”.
-Pastor Wes Gunther
We have plans for HAPF moving forward. I apologize for the lack of scheduling on my part. The busyness of my life lately has been difficult to manage. Between the church, TAP and personal obligations, I have not been able to kick-start HAPF since Covid. Pastor Perry Kile from Bible Baptist Church in New Bloomfield has shown an interest in helping with HAPF and will be sending out a survey and letter soon.
As soon as we can get some staff at Cedar Hill, finish relocating TAP and I finish building my house – I expect things to return to a manageable level. In the meantime, Pastor Kile will make sure we keep things scheduled and moving with meetings. Thank you to Pastor Kile.
- Pastor Wes Gunther
This is from Larry Hendrickson:
I am fulfilling all my commitments through the end of September, but Toland will have to find a replacement starting the month of October. My duties there include Preaching the first two Sundays of the month and officiating the communion service on the first Sunday. They are in need of someone to take my place. If you know of someone I would appreciate you contacting me. Yours in Christ, Pastor Larry Hendrickson
Revival Meetings with Evangelist Dan Knickerbocker will be held at the Bible Baptist Church of New Bloomfield with Pastor Perry Kile. July 31 – Aug. 3. For more information, call the church at 717-582-8365.