Are we a “Safe Congregation”?

Did you know that you are a member of our Safe Congregation Ministry, by virtue of your membership at UUCP?  Congratulations!  In order to have a strong safety culture, everyone  needs to feel responsible for safety and pursue it on a daily basis.  It’s not just something that a committee does.

We come to UUCP for a lot of reasons—for fellowship and community; to hear sermons that inspire us in living the 7 principles of UUism; for support and encouragement for social justice action; for music; for our children…how many ways can we count?  Probably one reason that is not on our list is to be reminded of the behaviors in our society that threaten us, depress and anger us, and have potential to hurt us.  On the contrary, we come to UUCP as an escape, as balm to the soul.

We have just formed a safe congregation team at UUCP to address these issues.  We will be reviewing our emergency response plan, including what to do in case of fire or active shooter incident.  Do we know what to do if there is a medical emergency?  Have we outlined disruptive and abusive behaviors that are inappropriate at UUCP?  What do we do if we have a flood in our building due to burst pipe or weather?  Do we perform periodic “safety checks” in our facility?

Let’s face it…BAD STUFF CAN HAPPEN.  Can we be a safe congregation?  Maybe not.  Can we be a SAFER congregation?  YES, with all of you.

Over the next year we will be dusting off policies and procedures and drafting new ones.  We will be sharing these and doing some training. This needs to be an ongoing process, and not just a single reactive event to a societal tragedy.  And it’s going to take all of YOU.

Here are some things you can do immediately:

  • Do you have any special expertise in emergency planning/ management or HR? Or would you be able to help out on our Property Team?  Contact Lora Gustafson at
  • There’s a lot of good emergency planning information on , the official website of the Dept. of Homeland Security, that you can review with your family. In particular, check out some basic things you can do in an active shooter situation:
  • BE AWARE of your surroundings at UUCP. Where are the exits?  Where is the AED, the fire extinguishers?  Is there a frayed piece of carpet, a crack in the cement, a spill that someone could fall and hurt themselves?  Report it; fix it!
  • Engage newcomers. Make them feel welcome.
  • Lock your cars on our premises. Don’t leave valuable items in full view.  The Paradise Valley Police Department reports that the #1 crime on church properties is vandalism to cars to steal something inside.

We look forward to creating a safer congregation with you!