Tuesday, November 30, 2010


We have a gentleman who first appeared at the church in late September. He's been in and out since, and has a pattern of writing long involved letters. I suspect he has paranoid schizophrenia from some of the things he's written. A couple of weeks ago I got a short letter from him stating there was no point in us having a conversation. He said some other things that led me to believe that he felt I'd fallen prey to the evil conspiracy that is out to get him. His letters were postmarked from cities some distance from here, so I thought we'd seen the last of him. I did take his letters to the board, who had already figured out he suffered from mental illness. They weren't interested in the content, but did express concern about the safety of the administrative assistant and me if he showed up when we were alone at the church. We have an alarm system, and a monitor that allows us to talk to people at the door and decide whether to let them in when we're here alone. When we're both here, the door is unlocked.
Yesterday, he showed up when I was here alone. I saw him on the monitor, and went to the door to talk to him. I refused to let him into the church. I finally explained that I was not comfortable letting people in when I was here alone. This morning he stopped back by. One of the men on the board saw his truck in the parking lot and came in to make sure we were okay. He talked to AA, and then stopped by my office. I told him what had happened yesterday. He lives close to the church, and so I said, "You know, I think in the future if he shows up I'll call you or R (who also lives close to the church) before I go to the door. Then you can just happen to stop by." He immediately gave me his cell phone number.
R stopped by later. I told him the plan. He's also our contact with the alarm company. He said, "You know, we need to get you a panic button like we have for AA here in the office." One is being delivered to me tomorrow. It will be a key fob, so I'll have it with me wherever I go in the church. These people are great. They are genuinely concerned for my safety, and I'm grateful.


Miz Kizzle said...

Wouldn't a cell phone call to 911 work as well as a panic button and be less expensive? We had a mentally ill person hanging around our church a few months ago. He managed to slip in and hide in one of the many rooms behind the narthex one evening when my husband and I were staying overnight to supervise the homeless women who stay at the church. My hubby stumbled upon him in the wee hours when he (hubby) was on his way to the men's room. The guy was rambling about being followed by the FBI and the CIA. He said he had a right to be in the church because he claimed sanctuary, an interesting by very outdated and unsafe idea, what with the women and kids staying there. Hubby called the cops and he was whisked away to an unknown location. We haven't seen him since.

Reverend Mom said...

If you have your cell phone and are in a position to use it without the threatening individual somehow preventing it. The panic button is silent and can be used without anyone knowing.

Our man hasn't done anything that warrants police intervention, but we are going to put together a file of information and deliver it to the local police so that they have some background if a problem does develop.