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Higher Ground Baptist to host church security conference

Holly Viers • Jan 28, 2018 at 9:00 AM

KINGSPORT — A local church is inviting members of the faith community to come together next month for an in-depth conference on church security.

The event, which will be hosted by Higher Ground Baptist Church, will feature several classes taught by local security experts.

When and where

The conference will be held Saturday, Feb. 10, at the church, located at 1625 Lynn Garden Drive. Doors will open at 8 a.m., and the event itself will last from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will break for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.

What to expect

Harry Torian, Higher Ground security director, said the conference will cover a number of topics, including creating a church security ministry, keeping the church offering safe, learning situational awareness, protecting your pastor and dealing with an active shooter.

Classes will be taught by local law enforcement representatives and other officials, Torian said. After each speaker, a short Q&A period will be held while the next speaker is setting up.

“Then that speaker is actually going to go out to a welcome center, so if someone didn’t get their question answered or wants a little bit more detail, people can come talk to them,” Torian said. “We’ll do that with every speaker.”

Background

Torian said the church held this conference in 2009 and 2010, making this its third year.

“We decided it would probably be a good time, because a lot of churches are asking their sheriff’s departments to come out and talk with them,” Torian said. “Hopefully we’ll cover a few more topics that may be of interest to them.”

In years past, Torian said, the conference welcomed 200 to 250 people. The event will be held in the church sanctuary, which will provide ample space, Torian said.

Registration

The cost to attend is $25 per person, Torian said. Groups of five or more can pay a discounted registration fee of $15 per person. Participants can go out for lunch, or they can eat at the church for $10 per person.

Torian said people should register as soon as possible by calling the church at (423) 245-3141 or visiting www.higherground.org/churchsecurityconference.

Why you should attend

Because shootings on church property have become more common, Torian said it’s important for churchgoers to be prepared if a dangerous situation arises.

“We still want to be warm and welcoming, but we just need to bring our awareness up (because) there are people that are targeting churches out there,” Torian said. “We want to hopefully put some of this information out, and people can take it back to their church and tailor it how it will fit their church.”

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