If you were present in the building for services this past Sunday, you may have noticed a flurry of activity in the entrance area during the sermon, including the arrival of emergency services. One of our members had a medical emergency which required urgent attention. We are grateful to report that this member is now doing well and has fully recovered. We are also grateful to our two community members who are medical professionals who were able to be there for support and help transport them to medical care.
This was not the first time that we needed to call in for emergency help on a Sunday morning, and it certainly won’t be the last. What is different, however, is the times we live in, and our shared awareness of all the things that might go wrong in a communal gathering space. Which in turn makes moments like this raise anxieties, and for some, questions about how we respond.
Our staff team is constantly updating our emergency and crisis response procedures, especially in light of changing world realities, and also due to our changing building situation. We are preparing to offer an updated training for our regular Sunday morning volunteers and our choir to run through these procedures.
In the meantime, and for everyone, I want to make sure you know that if anything is occurring that might endanger the community, we will stop the service and alert everyone present, and initiate our emergency response, including evacuation when appropriate. Our administrative staff person on Sundays (most often Jenn Powell) knows and is empowered to immediately alert the worship leader for any such concern, and to initiate evacuation whenever needed.
This same staff person will ensure that when the situation is – like it was this past Sunday – about a particular individual, that appropriate help is provided, including calling 911 when needed, and that the individual’s well-being is followed up on after the service. It is natural and a positive part of our community that we all want to make sure someone is ok when there is an incident, and at the same time keeping the numbers of people directly involved helps maintain calm and clarity – a little like Kristen’s sermon on Sunday, which was fittingly titled “finding calm in the chaos.”
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. And, if you are someone who would like to join our Sunday hospitality team, or our caring team – both of whom are critical partners when incidents such as this occur – please reach out to Jenn Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org.