Pastoral Notes for Sunday, March 4, 2018

In response to the increase of violent crimes at churches, the Cornerstone leadership informed you several months ago that we would be looking into ways we can enhance the security of our congregation while maintaining a warm, welcoming, and worshipful environment.

Under the leadership of Jim Robinson, Chairman of our Safety Team, a number of important security advances have already been made with more steps expected soon. I asked Jim Robinson to pen a brief security update for the Pastoral Notes this morning to keep you abreast of what’s happening. Please take a few minutes now to read Jim’s security update below:

We had safety assessments performed by the Franklin Police Department and a Christian based security company. These assessments helped us see areas for improvement for our facility and ministry procedures.

First, we installed a new locking system that allows us to set the times that the main side entrance (glass doors) is locked. The doors will be opened during our normal worship service hours on Sunday and Wednesday night. But to ensure the safety of the staff and students at New College Franklin, we will be initiating a policy that requires the doors to be locked unless there is a security Watchman on duty. There is a buzzer, camera and intercom at the door now. Our Office Administrator, Susan Bumpus, is able to open the door from her desk if she’s available. That said, if you are going to be visiting the church during the week, it would be wise to call ahead or make prior arrangements to eliminate any potential frustration in gaining entry.

Second, we have begun forming a team of men that we’re calling “Watchmen.” Our goal is to have one of them out front for the Sunday and Wednesday services. We are purchasing radios to establish communication between the Watchman, the Deacon on Duty, the nursery, and the High school class at Merridee’s. Ideally, we would like to have the team composed of men in the range of 39-50 years old. If you would consider serving on this team and have not been contacted already, please call or email Todd Russell at

Third, we are looking for a short-term solution to better secure the two sets of outer double doors into the sanctuary. The building committee has plans to redo the doors, but any changes must meet city codes and the requirements of the Franklin Historical Society. 

Fourth, we are in the planning stages of forming a response team and a congregational plan in the unlikely event of a disturbance during a worship service. More information on this will be forthcoming.

Please pray for the leadership team as we consider and prioritize other safety measures. We could spend thousands of dollars on things like safety coatings for ground floor windows and doors, outside lighting, door alarms, etc. That said, we have limited funding for safety issues and building upgrades. We want to be sure that we steward our resources faithfully as we strive to make Cornerstone a safe and welcoming environment for all.

Let me take a moment just to say “Thank you” to Jim Robinson and the security team for the many hours they’ve already put into this initiative. They are doing a fantastic job, and I know we are all grateful for their work.

If you have any questions concerning security, please do not hesitate to reach out to Jim Robinson at He would be glad to hear from you.