You can't be too careful these days.
If you attended worship here on Christmas Eve, you may have noticed that we had a security team doing bag inspections of all members and visitors. Bag inspection also was part of the security we deployed on the evening of the Anita and Antonio Gotto Lecture on Oct. 30.
And as of Feb. 2, we are doing bag inspections every Sunday morning.
These measures are the product of a study by Fifth Avenue’s Property Administration Committee (PAC) last fall that evaluated our security procedures in comparison with other houses of worship in Manhattan. A PAC task force consulted with Central Synagogue, Saint Thomas Church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Brick Presbyterian Church to identify best practices.
“Given our high-profile location and the volume of foot traffic that passes our doors every day, we recognized the need for procedures and protocols that would help to ensure the safety of worship and other public events,” says Executive Pastor Charlene Han Powell.
Security personnel now quickly inspect all bags as members and visitors enter the Sanctuary. We may require that oversized bags be checked with security for later pick-up.
The church has employed security personnel at all worship services since the beginning of 2019. This year, in addition to bag inspections, the church will provide security and emergency preparedness training to ushers and greeters, Sunday School teachers, officers and staff.
“Security now is a substantial part of the church’s operating budget,” Charlene say. “This is a commitment we make to our members, staff and visitors.”