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Shedding Light on Safety: Candle Precautions for Ministries

Updated: Jan 18

Candles serve as an important symbol in worship for United Methodists; however, if mishandled, they can pose serious threats to both the sanctity of the event and the safety of your congregation. With Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approaching, you must ensure your ministry implements appropriate precautions to ensure a secure and serene environment during services.

Artificial Candles to Minimize Risks

One of the most effective ways to mitigate fire hazards associated with candles is by opting for artificial alternatives. Battery-powered or flameless candles not only reduce the risk of fires, but also provide an authentic ambiance. While the live burning flame symbolism might be lost, peace of mind for your staff and congregation is invaluable.

Strategic Placement of Candles

Careful consideration of the location for candle placement within your church is crucial. Avoid high-traffic areas where candles could be easily bumped or toppled, potentially causing damage or injury. By ensuring candles are positioned on heat-resistant platforms and away from combustible materials and liquids (such as Christmas trees, decorations, etc.), you’ll be making a significant stride in protecting your ministry.

Continuous Monitoring of Flames

Live flames should never be left unattended. Designate staff to oversee candles, ensuring they burn properly and safely, monitor flames consistently, and extinguish them before leaving the area. Additionally, refrain from leaving candles burning for more than 4 hours at a stretch.

Preparation for Fire Safety Emergencies

Regularly check and maintain your ministry’s fire safety systems and equipment, keeping a record of equipment checks. Educating ministry, event, and worship leaders about potential fire risks, having emergency plans ready for immediate execution, and compiling a list of important contacts will reduce stress and potential damage in the case of a disaster. Don’t forget to place fire extinguishers near any open-flame candles!

For additional safety tips, refer to the National Fire Protection Association's website and search for “candle safety.” Collaborating with the local fire department to confirm that your church is adequately equipped for a fire emergency is also recommended.

At United Methodist Insurance (UMIP), we understand the unique needs of Methodist churches. Our comprehensive coverage options are tailored to protect your church’s people, property, and finances. Contact us to learn more about our exceptional insurance services.


This content has been prepared by United Methodist Insurance Company (UMI) for informational purposes only. No article or document may accurately contemplate all possible scenarios or church resources. As such, this information is meant to foster discussion by the individual church and its members to develop a plan tailored to its own circumstances. UMI is providing this information with no warranties or guarantees of any kind and it should not be viewed as legal, financial, or other professional advice. All liability is expressly disclaimed. Any claim examples described herein are general in nature, may or may not be based on actual claims, and are for informational purposes only. Any coverage available for a claim is determined from the facts and circumstances of the claim as well as the terms and conditions of any applicable policy, including any exclusions or deductibles. In the event of a conflict with the content herein, the terms and conditions of any issued policy will control. Individual coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.

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