Church Safety Summit Not Just About Guns--Will Focus on Child Abuse Prevention, Weather Preparedness

Today is the last day to RSVP to Dade First-Family Connection for Feb. 10’s “Church Safety Summit” at Trenton United Methodist Church.

The event had been discussed at Dade County and Trenton City Commission meetings as a public safety awareness session following certain traumatic church shooting events in national headlines, and indeed it is being given in conjunction with the Dade Sheriff’s Office and Trenton Police Department.

But other sponsoring agencies include the Dade County

Emergency Management Agency and the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, and topics listed to be discussed include, besides shooting events, child abuse prevention and weather preparedness. Furthermore, this is a daylong Saturday affair, from 8:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m., and the notice for the event lists a $10 charge for “workbooks” (free to the first 50 to RSVP).

What were the workbooks for? wondered The Planet. What kind of event was this? It all sounded kind of eclectic. Would participants be able to attend workshops on one subject or another, and not stay for the whole day?

Thus The Planet asked Martha Baker, executive director of Dade First-Family Connection, to elucidate, and she responded as follows (in part):

“Family Connection planned to coordinate a Stewards of Children training led by the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy," she explained in an email to The Planet. "Steve Fallin (who is the director at the GCCA) suggested that I have a planning meeting for this event and invite local churches, law enforcement and any other agencies I thought would be interested in facilitating this event for our community. We had our first meeting and many pastors expressed they’d also be interested in “active shooter training” (as the Texas church shooting was fresh on everyone’s hearts) and weather related disaster preparedness. Graciously, the Sheriff’s Office, City Police and Emergency Management Services jumped at the opportunity to provide something like this for our community so the plan just fell in place that it would become a daylong ‘Church Safety and Security’ event.”

Ms. Baker explained that child abuse and neglect and school success are two major issues for the Dade community. “We come up with strategies to address these issues and try to get the community involved any way that we can,” she wrote. “This includes churches, businesses, families, individuals, law enforcement, schools, etc. When all of these entities work together towards a common goal, the results are amazing and greater than if one tried to go at it alone.”

She said that one way the allied agencies address Dade’s problems is through events they coordinate to provide free or at low cost, such as the popular Read to Lead, Glow Run and Parent Cafes. This Church Safety Summit is another one, albeit a more intensive and training-oriented one.

Ms. Baker stressed that this is a public event and that everyone is invited. However:

“To keep confusion down and for the success of the training, we prefer that if anyone signs up for this event that they do stay for the entire day of training,” wrote Ms. Baker. “Of course, if anyone has any questions or needs to leave early/come late they can give me a call at 423-883-6939 or email at”

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