The Church at Brook Hills in north Shelby County is no longer hosting an expected 2,000 people tonight for a religious gathering called Secret Church featuring well-known Pastor David Platt after receiving a threat against the event this morning.
Church at Brook Hills communications director Chris Kinsley said a threat received by the church this morning resulted in evacuation of the building due to safety concerns as members of Birmingham-area law enforcement searched the grounds.
Nothing suspicious or threatening was found at the church, but Kinsley said tonight’s Secret Church event will not be held at the Brook Hills location. “We’re going ahead with the simulcast but this particular location of the event will be changed,” he said.
“It appears to be safe, but it feels like it’s prudent to not solicit any other action from anyone,” he added.
Kinsley said no more than 150 people in the church were evacuated sometime around 10:30 a.m. due to concerns about a possible security issue. Church officials as part of the evacuation notified parents of pre-kindergarten children attending the Early Learning Center to pick them up.
The evacuations occurred as preparations were happening for tonight’s Secret Church event organized by a ministry called Radical, which is affiliated with Platt and The Church at Brook Hills.
First-responders including Birmingham police and fire personnel as well as the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the church this morning off U.S. Highway 280 and Cahaba Valley Road.
“We did receive a phone call there was a threat against the church,” Birmingham Police Sgt. Robert Pesnell said at the scene. “We came out as a precaution to check the facilities and make sure everything was OK.”
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Martin J. Reed