Dear St. Paul’s family,
One of the perennial conversations cathedral staff engage in concerns the safety and security of both staff and parishioners during Cathedral events and during the week. We are all too well aware of recent terrorist attacks on houses of worship, not to mention the chronic security challenges posed by mentally unstable neighbors, and we are always on the watch for ways to help us all feel safer when we are at St. Paul’s.
Several (about three) years ago, we learned that the Department of Homeland Security was offering federal grants to faith communities to install security systems. We investigated further and became the first Christian faith community to apply for such a grant. We were blessedly chosen to be approved for a grant of nearly $74,000 – and then the real work began. As you can imagine, any federal grant comes with a lot of bureaucracy attached, and this DHS grant was no exception. Our wonderful administrator, Kathleen Burgess, has put in untold hours ever since to shepherd this process to fruition.
Now, at last, we are seeing the installation of the equipment. If you’ve noticed some new holes around the campus, that indicates where cabling and other equipment will be mounted. For the past ten days Cathedral staff and volunteers have been enduring some very loud drilling, as the contractor faced the challenges of our unusually thick and strong walls. Once the cables are run, we will see cameras mounted in the back of the cathedral (the narthex), the transept, and at various points of entry to the campus and the buildings. An intercom and keycard security system will also be installed at various key entrances. Installation should be completed by mid-April.
When all is installed, cathedral staff will be able remotely to monitor activities in the nave, the porches, the Queen’s Courtyard, and all entrances to the cathedral. We have built this system around the anticipated configuration of the campus during construction of the Greystar apartment building, so nothing will have to be dismantled once we vacate the offices.
This is a wonderful gift to the Cathedral and should help us all feel more secure. For once I can say without irony, “Your tax dollars at work’! When you see Kathleen, be sure to thank her for staying on this project despite many challenges and seeing it through.
Your sister in Christ,