Hello Worship Center Family,
Within the Worship Center security office at approximately 10am on Sunday, February 9, a firearm was accidentally discharged by a volunteer security guard. The firearm’s discharge caused a bullet to be fired in the direction of the floor. Fragments from the bullet ricocheted from the office floor and struck two other persons, both of whom are on the security team. One injured security volunteer received minor outpatient care at a local hospital and was promptly discharged with expectation of full recovery. The second security team member sustained a minor injury to the hand but did not seek medical treatment.
While no life-threatening injuries were sustained, we are continuing to surround the affected persons and their families with support, comfort, and prayer. Worship Center is also providing an opportunity for all those involved to speak with a certified trauma counselor.
Immediately following after the incident, per Worship Center policy, our facility was secured until it was determined that there was no threat to public safety. Law enforcement also responded and a police report was made.
We understand that this unfortunate incident may cause reasonable concerns for you and your families.
Next Steps for Safety at Worship Center
Our goal is to ensure that Worship Center is a safe house of worship. Worship Center has regularly hosted security training sessions, screened security volunteers and consulted with security professionals, since houses of worship are potential targets for violence. Worship Center’s Security Team consists of several professional, armed security persons who serve alongside trained volunteers.
Yesterday’s incident shows we can do more to enhance safety. Our Worship Center leadership team is evaluating our security practices and protocols so as to avoid further incidents.
I am grateful to God for his protection and for the team of responders who acted with calm and confidence in this most unfortunate situation. My desire is that Worship Center is — and will continue to be — a safe refuge for all people. We are committed to working toward this objective to the best of our ability.
— Pastor Matt
Questions and Answers
Why do we allow firearms on the property?
Our country’s Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains the right to bear arms. Pennsylvania allows people to conceal and carry firearms in compliance with state laws. We recognize there is evil in this world and houses of worship are potential targets for violence. Our Security Team is consequently equipped and ready to protect persons in our facilities.
How does Worship Center vet volunteer security team members?
All Security Team volunteer members complete a thorough interview and screening process, which includes review from Worship Center staff and the Security Team’s leader of volunteers. Security Team volunteers must also complete standard background checks and a team orientation before being permitted to join the Security Team. Worship Center also seeks professional consultations, encourages attendance of annual workshops supported by the US Department of Homeland Security and representatives of local law enforcement, and hosts regular security meetings throughout the year, which consist of various safety trainings.
How are we caring for the people involved?
While no life-threatening injuries were sustained, we are continuing to surround those affected and their families with support, comfort, and prayer. Worship Center is also providing an opportunity for all those involved to consult with a certified trauma counselor.
What happens next?
We aspire to do better. We are reviewing our policies, planning more training, and seeking to increase the diligence of our Security Team. We commit to Worship Center continuing to be a safe place for anyone to come, worship God, and experience community.