Holiday Service Safety Considerations

// Lindsay Taylor on Friday December 15, 2017

Christmas services are among the highest-attended services of the year, presenting an exciting opportunity to celebrate and worship with a larger audience. With the increased number of services and attendees, you’ll want to make safety a top priority. Here are some pointers to help you plan for your large gathering.

Review your safety plan. Take a moment to revisit the safety plan you have established for your church. Review all procedures with your staff and volunteers to make sure that they know how to respond in the event of an emergency.

Determine logistics. With so many people in attendance, it's especially important to make sure that you have a game plan for the day – and that this plan is clearly communicated to staff and volunteers. Here are some details to consider:

  • Will you allow people to roam the facility or will you close off certain parts (e.g., church offices, classrooms, the gym or cafeteria)?
  • What time will the services start?
  • When will you start letting people in?
  • Which doors will you allow people to enter through?
  • Do you have enough seating and supplies (bulletins, candles, etc.) available?

Tip – It’s a good idea to have extra greeters and ushers available to assist people, since more nonmembers and out-of-town guests will be in attendance and may need more guidance and assistance.

Know your maximum occupancy. Going over this number can make for a squished, uncomfortable service – and create a safety risk in the event of an emergency.

Tip – Consider setting up overflow seating in a gym or fellowship hall with live video feeds of the services on TVs or projectors. This will allow more people to attend your service without it creating a safety risk.

Avoid slips and falls. There’s something special about a white Christmas, but you’ll want to be extra careful to limit slippery surfaces. Clear walking surfaces of snow and ice, and increase traction indoors by placing sturdy mats and runners at entrances.

Decorate with care.  Make sure that trees, manger scenes and other decorations do not block means of egress.

Step up security. Increased attendance also increases the potential threat of crime and violence, so make sure appropriate security measures are in place. Check out our post 4 Ways to Step Up Security at Holiday Events for ideas on how to do that.

Safely bask in the glow. The tips in this post will help ensure your candlelight service remains peaceful, not perilous.

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor is a Marketing Coordinator for GuideOne Insurance, focusing on marketing communications and the co-op program.

In her free time, she enjoys dancing, running and spending time with friends and family.

How to Prepare for the Possibility of Violence

// Eric Spacek, JD, ARM on Wednesday October 25, 2017

A church is often viewed as a safe haven. Not only by the congregation members, staff and volunteers, but by the community it’s a part of.  However, today’s reality proves that shootings and violent outbreaks are more commonplace and churches aren’t excluded from them. Most recently, the Antioch, Tennessee, church shooting that occurred on Sunday, Sept. 24, demonstrates that violent incidents may occur at any time and churches are vulnerable to such acts.

Shocking as it may seem, violent incidents like the one in Tennessee happen several times each year at churches across the country.  And while it’s not a pleasant topic to discuss, churches need to prepare themselves in case a violent act does occur.  Below are some suggestions on how to make your church and its members less vulnerable.

How to Make Your Church Less Vulnerable

  • If you don’t already have one, create a church Safety and Security Team. Designate a point person on security issues to be the security director and define the responsibilities of that position.
  • Conduct a security assessment to identify your church’s vulnerabilities. Ideally, the assessment would be conducted in conjunction with your local law enforcement agency.
  • Develop a church security plan with defined roles for all staff, including greeters, ushers and other frontline workers and volunteers.
  • Within your church security plan, include a seating location for all security personnel, lockdown procedures, crisis communications and an evacuation plan.
  • If appropriate for the size of your church, have walkie-talkies, pagers and/or radios on hand so that you may effectively communicate any issues or concerns.
  • Establish a no tolerance policy for fights, altercations and other disruptions.
  • Work with local law enforcement to provide training for staff and volunteers on topics such as dealing with disruptive individuals and identifying and diffusing potentially violent situations.
  • Understand the rules and limitations of a concealed carry weapons permit (CCW) and what your rights as a church are in allowing a member or visitor to bring their firearm to church.

How to Make Your Church Members Less Vulnerable

  • Never allow staff to work alone.  Always ensure that there are at least two employees present at all times.
  • Establish an internal distress code that will alert others in the office to your need for assistance.  For example, if your members typically address each other by first name, your distress code could be addressing a colleague by his/her last name (i.e., “Ms. Smith”).
  • Keep all church doors locked except when in use and limit access points as much as possible.
  • Make sure all church staff members know of and understand the church’s security plan.

The best way to address violence is to be prepared. There is no assurance that a violent episode can be avoided.  However, you can prepare for the possibility of an incident occurring and therefore react to a deadly situation in a more timely manner, potentially saving lives.

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Eric Spacek, JD, ARM

Eric Spacek, JD, ARM

Eric Space, JD, ARM is the Director of Risk Management and Loss Control at GuideOne Insurance in West Des Moines, Iowa.  Before joining GuideOne, he served as Minister of Operations for a large Methodist church in Raleigh, N.C., and was a liability litigation trial attorney in Washington, D.C.

What the Church Daycare Playground Case Means to You

// Eric Spacek, JD, ARM on Wednesday July 5, 2017

On June 26, 2017, the United States Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of a Missouri church daycare center in their dispute with the state over the availability of state grant funds to replace the surfacing of their playground. While the facts of the case involved a playground, it was about much more. As one Supreme Court justice wrote: “This case is about nothing less than the relationship between religious institutions and the civil government – that is, between church and state.”

Back in 2012, the church daycare center sought to avail itself of Missouri’s Scrap Tire Program, in which the state offered reimbursement grants to qualifying nonprofit organizations that installed playground surfaces made from recycled rubber tires. Although the center ranked fifth out of 44 applicants, it was denied a grant strictly because it was a church organization. The state pointed to its Constitution, which provided in pertinent part “[t]hat no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect, or denomination of religion.” 

The church daycare center sued in federal court, contending that the state was violating the free exercise of religion clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The federal court disagreed, holding that the free exercise clause did not require the state to make funds available to the church preschool under the Scrap Tire Program. A divided federal court of appeals upheld that finding.

Reversing the appeals court, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the state “expressly requires {the church preschool} to renounce its religious character in order to participate in an otherwise general available public benefit program, for which it is fully qualified.” In order to justify such a discriminatory policy, the Court found that the state would have to demonstrate a “state interest of the highest order,” which it failed to do. It held that the exclusion of the church preschool from the public benefit program “solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution … and cannot stand.”

IMPLICATIONS

While the full implications of this case will be played out in court cases in the months and years to come, there are several important takeaways for religious organizations from this decision:

First, when it comes to a general public benefit program designed to secure and/or improve the health and safety of children, such as the Scrap Tire Program at issue in this case, churches cannot be excluded from participation in such programs simply because of their religious character.

Second, all members of the Supreme Court agreed that generally available public benefits such as police and fire protection must be provided to churches. As Justice Sotomayor wrote in her dissenting opinion: “To fence out religious persons or entities from a truly generally available public benefit – one provided to all, no questions asked, such as police or fire protections – would violate the Free Exercise Clause.”  

Third, the scope of the decision as far as selective (versus general) public benefit programs available to religious organizations remains to be seen. In a footnote, the majority opinion made a distinction between the religious identity of the organization seeking the grant and the religious use for which the money would be put, saying: “This case involves express discrimination based on religious identity with respect to playground resurfacing. We do not address religious uses of funding or other forms of discrimination.” As a justice in a concurring opinion noted, “the Court leaves open the possibility a useful distinction might be drawn between laws that discriminate on the basis of religious status and religious use.” Thus, it is left for another day whether a different result would be reached where the organization seeking the grant funds anticipates using the funds for religious programming or purposes.

Fourth, questions remain as to the impact of this ruling upon so-called “Blaine Amendments” or “no-aid” amendments that are part of state constitutions in 38 states. These amendments, in various forms, prohibit the use of government funds for sectarian schools and/or religious organizations. The Blaine Amendment in Missouri, quoted above, was particularly broad. Although not specifically stated in the majority opinion, the dissenting opinion noted that the court effectively struck down Missouri’s state constitutional provision on aid to religious organizations. How this impacts Missouri and the 37 other states with Blaine Amendments in their state constitutions will be determined in future court cases. As the dissenting justice put it, “The soundness of today’s decision may matter less than what it might enable tomorrow.” 

The full text of the case, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, is available here

 

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Eric Spacek, JD, ARM

Eric Spacek, JD, ARM

Eric Space, JD, ARM is the Director of Risk Management and Loss Control at GuideOne Insurance in West Des Moines, Iowa.  Before joining GuideOne, he served as Minister of Operations for a large Methodist church in Raleigh, N.C., and was a liability litigation trial attorney in Washington, D.C.

Gearing Up for Summer Youth Activities

// Lindsay Taylor on Tuesday June 6, 2017

As the school year comes to a close, summer activities are ramping up. If your organization is planning events for the youth in your community – Vacation Bible School, camps, daycare and family activities – there are many safety considerations to think about before day one. Here are some things to keep in mind:  

Revisiting Your Safety Plan – Summer youth activities usually bring an influx of kids to your organization. With the increase in turnout, it’s more important than ever to ensure you have a proper safety plan in place so your event team knows how to respond to allergic reactions, injuries, inclement weather and other emergency situations. If you do already have one in place, be sure to double-check it and update as needed. Your safety plan might include the following sections: 

  • Emergency evacuation procedures
  • Severe weather procedures
  • Intruder procedures
  • Sexual misconduct and abuse prevention
  • First-aid procedures

If you don’t have a safety plan in place, check out this resource for guidance on what your safety plan should include.

Screening Employees and Volunteers – Employees and volunteers are key contributors to running successful activities. However, before hiring employees or accepting volunteers to work these events, it is crucial that you run proper background checks on them. Background checks deter criminals and sexual predators, can reveal criminal history and provide peace of mind. This resource helps you navigate background screenings.

Taking Precautionary Measures – The last thing you want at your events is an accident that results in injury or damage to occur. There are a number of precautionary measures that your organization, employees and volunteers can take in order to reduce the chance of this happening, and this article outlines what you can do to help protect participants and enjoy a fun-filled, accident-free summer.  

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor is a Marketing Coordinator for GuideOne Insurance, focusing on marketing communications and the co-op program.

In her free time, she enjoys dancing, running and spending time with friends and family.

Group Trip Travel Safety

// Lindsay Taylor on Tuesday March 7, 2017

As spring and summer draw near, church groups, school groups and nonprofit organizations like yours may be planning mission or outreach trips. These trips provide opportunities to help others in need, learn, and connect with others in your organization, but they also present unique risks that need to be taken seriously. Proper planning, in-depth research and good communication are the keys to making your group trip a positive experience for all. Here’s to safe and happy travels!

 

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor is a Marketing Coordinator for GuideOne Insurance, focusing on marketing communications and the co-op program.

In her free time, she enjoys dancing, running and spending time with friends and family.

Emergency Shelter Preparedness

// Lindsay Taylor on Thursday February 16, 2017

Tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, floods and winter storms: These are all natural disasters that, recently, we’ve heard about much too often. In 2016, 103 natural disasters were declared across the United States. Among those were Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Hermine, wildfires in Tennessee and severe storms, to name a few. So far in 2017, there have already been 11 natural disasters declared – nine of which were severe storms.  

We hope that none of these natural disasters strike in our communities, but if they do, how will your organization respond? Some churches and nonprofit organizations open their doors to those directly affected by natural disasters, and your organization may choose to provide shelter, too. Before you declare your facility an emergency shelter, work with your local and state government to ensure adequate preparedness for all elements of an emergency shelter and review the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Nation Disaster Housing Strategy.

Here are some key steps and considerations to keep in mind when turning your facility into an emergency shelter:

Prepare Your Building
Do the following so your emergency shelter is safe, secure and guest-ready:

  • Research local laws and ask about requirements for establishing a local emergency shelter.
  • Work with the fire department to determine the maximum occupancy of your facility.
  • Analyze the layout of your facility, determining a plan in the event of an emergency and adequately communicating the plan to staff and volunteers.
  • See that all exits are marked and are not obstructed.
  • Limit guest-accessible areas and secure remaining areas around the building.

Stock Up on Supplies
As an emergency shelter, your organization will need to supply individuals and families with many resources. Confirm that you have the proper disaster supplies, including food, water, blankets, personal care products, etc. And be sure your first-aid kit is fully stocked.  

Train Staff and Volunteers
Your emergency shelter will heavily rely on staff and volunteers to maintain guest health and safety. Here are considerations for coordinating your team of staff and volunteers so that everyone is well aware of safety and security guidelines:  

  • Establish a supervision schedule for volunteers and staff, and see that at least two volunteers are awake and monitoring activity at all times.
  • Continuously monitor all entrances and exits.
  • Only allow those trained in food safety to supervise kitchen activity.
  • Plan a response to persons contracting a communicable disease or coming to the shelter seriously ill.
  • Inspect and monitor walking surfaces to prevent slips, trips and falls.
  • Plan accordingly for guests with special needs or disabilities.

Establish Rules
Basic rules for an emergency shelter should include the following:

  • No alcohol or illegal drugs are permitted on the premises.
  • No weapons of any kind are permitted on the premises.
  • No violence or verbal abuse will be tolerated.
  • No admittance after 10 p.m.
  • A quiet sleeping time will be maintained by 11 p.m.
  • No smoking in the building.
  • Children must remain with their parent(s) or guardian(s) at all times.
  • Candles, camping lanterns, oil lamps and other open flames are prohibited.
  • Individuals who violate any rules will be asked to leave the shelter.

Source: FEMA 

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor is a Marketing Coordinator for GuideOne Insurance, focusing on marketing communications and the co-op program.

In her free time, she enjoys dancing, running and spending time with friends and family.

3 Ways to Make Church Budget Planning More Productive

// GuideOne on Tuesday November 1, 2016

This time of year is busy for church leadership.  Getting the organization ready for the holidays and planning for the coming year are just a couple of the big to-dos.  And then there’s annual budget planning.  I feel like pouring myself a cup of coffee just thinking about it. 

If your church board is anything like the board I’m on, the annual budget meeting isn’t something I look forward to.  The thought of going line by line through our budget, discussing each item, setting a number, prioritizing expenses and formulating plans … it’s enough to make me look forward to going to the dentist. 

Joking aside, there are a few things you can do right now – whether your church has started your budget process or is planning to do so – to make everything go a bit smoother.  Here are three tips to kick things off on the right foot.

1. Gain a better understanding of the church’s programs. Have conversations with your ministry coordinators and volunteer leaders about how things are going and what they’d like to see changed.  Talk about their ideas for the future and how they hope to see their programs grow and change.  It is easy for board members to make decisions based on a lot of secondhand information.  Through these meaningful conversations, you can get a real feel for their planning and budget needs – plus the information will add a lot of context to your budget discussions. 

2. Consider overhead costs. As you’re budgeting, keep a close eye on what percentage of your budget is directly supporting ministries.  Overhead costs vary from church to church, but there’s something subtly motivating in monitoring what’s been allocated to directly support a ministry or outreach.  I find that our board informally uses that information as a way to establish priorities and determine what’s really important.

3. Sweat the small stuff.  Sure, digging into the nitty gritty isn’t necessarily fun, but it’s important.  In fact, this might be the one meeting each year where you really do comb through every detail, question and need, identify misplaced priorities, and hash it all out as a group.  If you make the most of this meeting, it will help you move forward with confidence knowing that your organization is using every dollar wisely.

Budget planning can be an exhausting process.  Spreadsheets, long meetings and head scratching are all part of it.  Take a deep breath and know that the decisions you’re making now – and the patience you’re giving the process – is setting your church up for a successful 2017. 

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

GuideOne

At GuideOne Insurance, our goal is to provide you with peace of mind while you follow your purpose. From supporting strong values to rewarding social responsibility, what guides you is what makes us GuideOne. Explore our site to learn more about GuideOne and our Church, Education, Nonprofit, and Senior Living products.

How Safe Are the Toys in Your Church Nursery?

// Katie Rynard on Tuesday September 13, 2016

Donations of new or gently used toys make play time in the church nursery even more enjoyable for the youngest members of your congregation. To ensure the toys in your nursery remain fun and not scary, take time to inspect donations before accepting them. Toy-related injuries were responsible for approximately 251,800 emergency department visits in 2014, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

If you receive donated toys, decide whether or not to keep them based on these factors:

CHOOSE TOYS THAT HAVE:

  • ASTM labels – this indicates that the toy has been tested and certified by the American Society for Testing and Materials
  • Age-recommendation labels – typically printed on toy packaging, this label helps you ensure that toys are age-appropriate for the children you’re responsible for
  • Nontoxic labeling (crayons, markers and other art supplies)
  • Flame-resistant, flame-retardant or nonflammable labels (cloth toys)
  • Washable materials (cloth toys)
  • Sturdy and durable construction that will stand up to frequent use

STEER CLEAR OF TOYS THAT HAVE:

  • Sharp edges or points
  • Loud noises that could cause hearing damage
  • Small or moving parts that aren’t securely fastened
  • Splinters on wooden toys
  • Small parts, like marbles and beads, that could be put into a child’s nose, mouth, or ears
  • Visible damage, like tears, cracks or broken seams
  • Slots or holes that could pinch a child’s fingers
  • Easy access to magnets and button batteries, which are choking hazards and harmful if ingested
  • Potentially harmful filling, like small pellets
  • Been recalled by the CPSC

It’s also smart to periodically screen toys that have been in your nursery for a while. Carefully fix broken toys or ditch them if they’re beyond repair, and regularly clean toys so they’re sanitary.

SOURCES: Child Safety for Churches,” a free downloadable book from GuideOne Insurance | Safe Kids Worldwide  | KidsHealth

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Katie Rynard

Katie Rynard

Katie Rynard is a Corporate Communications Specialist at GuideOne Insurance.

When she's not at work, she enjoys decorating, traveling, trying new restaurants and spending time with her husband, daughter and dachshund puppy.

Why Parsonage Dwellers Should Consider Renter’s Insurance

// Tom Icatar on Tuesday June 21, 2016

As a church leader, you make sure your place of worship has the right amount of insurance coverage. Your church package policy likely provides comprehensive property and liability coverages, but did you know you can extend coverage even further with a renter’s insurance policy for any clergy living in a property owned by the church? If you or others in your church live in a parsonage, here are a few reasons why adding a renter’s policy makes sense:

  • A church package policy protects the actual parsonage building. However, it doesn’t cover the loss of personal possessions like books, laptops, clothing and furniture owned by an individual, unless these items are used predominately for business purposes. And if you think your personal belongings don’t cost that much, remember this: these items add up, and you likely won’t be able to replace the same items for what you originally paid for them. In fact, a recent insurance survey indicated that the average renter owns about $30,000 worth of possessions.
  • A renter’s policy can help reimburse you for the cost to live in a hotel or another rental unit if you are temporarily forced out of the parsonage after a fire, lightning strike or other loss caused by a covered peril that leaves the residence uninhabitable.
  • A renter’s policy extends a limited amount of coverage for your belongings while you’re traveling.
  • A renter’s policy covers family members living with you, plus medical expenses for injuries to others on your property caused by you, your family members and even your pets.

Church leaders work hard to serve their congregation every day, and deserve insurance coverage that works just as hard. To learn more about how you or your clergy can benefit from a renter’s insurance policy, talk to your GuideOne agent.

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Tom Icatar

Tom Icatar

Tom Icatar is an Underwriting & Product Development Senior Manager for GuideOne’s Personal Lines Department. Tom has earned API, AAI, and AIS professional insurance designations from the IAA. He has also been the Company Chairperson for both Property and Motor Vehicle Committees of the Property Casualty Insurers (PCI) Trade Association. GuideOne has been protecting drivers with personalized auto coverage for more than 60 years. For additional information, visit GuideOne’s Auto Insurance page.

5 Steps to Start a Church Recycling Program

// Alexa Guessford on Tuesday February 2, 2016

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Go green. Eco-friendly. We hear these terms nearly everywhere we go. In today’s world, sustainability is an important piece of the puzzle to help better your impact on the community. Creating a recycling program at your facility is one of the ways you can set yourself apart from the rest of the greenies in the world.

When considering the implementation of a recycling program, it’s most important to remember that recycling at home differs from recycling at church. Although budget concerns are oftentimes at the forefront of every religious leader’s mind, church facilities can recycle effectively. The five steps below should help get you headed in the right direction.

  • Create a Green Team – Appoint someone who is interested in assuming a leadership role at your church to take responsibility for this green effort from beginning to end. They will be in charge of recruiting and assembling a team of volunteers to create a plan for the recycling program, delegate responsibilities and see the plan through.
  • Contact Vendors – Call your local waste management service to learn what options you have available in regard to recyclable materials. Inquire about the types of materials they typically handle and how they would like them organized/contained for pickup. Some vendors charge a fee to collect both trash and recyclables, so you’ll need to ensure the cost is within the church’s budget.
  • Consider Logistics – Once you’ve determined the feasibility of a recycling program, begin with collecting a few items – paper bulletins and beverage containers. Ensure you set up receptacle bins in sensible places. It’s easiest to do this by observing the behavior of your members to see where they naturally discard their trash. Remember, bins are moveable, so experiment with their position. Common places for recycle bins include the church office or copy center, near the exit of the worship center, and near existing trash cans.
  • Communicate – Educate members of your church through various means of communication on your new program. They’ll likely be more apt to participate in the program if they are aware of your goals as a church, what types of recyclables you’re collecting and where they can expect to find receptacles. Additionally, label each bin depending on its contents, as well as place signs at eye level above the waste area.
  • Maintain Support – Determine who will empty and maintain each recycling bin. If they’re overly full, people will resort to throwing recyclable materials into the garbage. Regularly remind your members how the system works and provide measures of success. Explain how much recycled material your church generates and what other types of material are produced because of the church’s green efforts. It also may help to purchase products that are made from recycled materials, such as printer paper, toilet paper and facial tissue. This shows congregants that you’re cognizant of your impact on the community and the environment.

Starting a recycling program can be a daunting task. However, if the responsibility is implemented and handled well, it’s an opportunity to conserve resources and encourage the members of your church to think about sustainability in every aspect of their life.

Sources:
Flourish Magazine
Covchurch.org 

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Alexa Guessford

Alexa Guessford

Alexa Guessford is the Corporate Communications Coordinator for GuideOne Insurance, mainly responsible for internal communications and special events.

In her spare time, Alexa enjoys working out, spending time with her family and watching Friends.

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