Adventist Risk Management, the Seventh-day Adventist Church-owned insurer, has issued guidelines on how churches and schools should respond to “Pokémon Go” players, advising them to avoid overreacting and to seek opportunities to leave a good impression about Adventists.
“Pokémon Go,” a game app that requires players to catch Pokémon characters with their mobile devices at real-life locations, has taken the gaming world by storm since its release in July.
Adventist Church-owned properties have found themselves among the places designated in the game as “PokeStops” or “Gyms,” where players can claim rewards and fight battles.
Adventist Risk Management, which insures Adventist-owned properties around the world, said it has received inquiries about “what to do when trespassers come onto church or school property in search of virtual reality characters such as Pokémon.”
“It can be alarming when strangers attempt to gain access to the property who are not there to participate in church or school activities,” said David Fournier, vice president and chief client care officer at Adventist Risk Management. “Also churches and schools want to avoid being held liable for the injury of a player who hurts themselves exploring their property.”
Fournier, in a statement on the Adventist Risk Management website, offered four tips for churches and schools dealing with Pokémon players:
The Adventist Church has not commented on the merits of “Pokémon Go” and the Pokémon media franchise, which has been around since 1995.
But Fournier noted that “Pokémon Go” players could make their first contact with the church through the game.
“Perhaps there is an opportunity here to create a positive impression of Adventists and your ministry to community members who come across your church or school through this game,” Fournier said. “Consider the safety and liability issues at stake, but also take the opportunity to make a positive impression in your community.”