Dear Members and Friends of the UUFW:
On Friday, Sgt. Brian Edwards of the Waynesboro police identified our disruptive visitor from last Sunday, and indicated that he knew him. Sgt. Edwards visited Will at his apartment. Will acknowledged to Sgt. Edwards that he’d been drinking and was contrite about his actions, recognizing that they were inappropriate. He has promised not to return onto our property. In the judgment of Sgt. Edwards, the Board, and Rev. Paul, the dangers suggested in last Sunday’s encounter have been a wake-up call, and we’ll be proceeding with our security improvements that the Board approved at its Wednesday meeting. In the light of Sgt. Edwards’ report to us, we do not feel the need for police presence this Sunday.
The Board devoted the majority of its meeting on Wednesday to evaluation and issues around the troubling event on Sunday. The commitments that came out of that meeting were:
- to form a security taskforce to immediately evaluate risks and develop procedures and physical plant improvements specific to our setting;
- to complete a security assessment with help of Waynesboro police and/or UU Trauma Response Ministries;
- to explore physical plant upgrades/ changes that would facilitate better prevention and response; engage and train greeters who will stay in foyer during services, with an aim to recognizing problem situations, especially as a person is arriving;
- to explore developing an “usher” role, as distinct from greeters, with intention of security vigilance;
- to place no-guns/weapons-allowed signs at Fellowship entryways; and
- to purchase trac phones assigned to the DRE or acting DRE on a given Sunday and to the greeters in the Fellowship Hall foyer to facilitate emergency and other significant communications between buildings.
Rev. Paul has instructed our DRE and the RE Team to gather all the standard RE procedures, focusing first on what to do in case of intrusion, disruption or other emergency, so that those procedures can be reviewed, updated, and supplemented as necessary.
At our congregational meeting on Thursday evening, after a chalice lighting and introductory words, Susan Schmidt, as president, outlined the Board’s commitments. Then Sgt. Edwards spoke about ways the police department could assist us in making security-related improvements and took a lot of questions from those gathered. Then, after he departed, we moved into a different time where people talked about their feelings and processed together, without using it as a time for people to make procedural suggestions, which they were assured they could have input on through the newly forming security taskforce.
We invite your continued input and offer continuing care.
In faithful service,
Susan Schmidt, President,
The UUFW Board, and