PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Following the Texas church shooting, churches across the country are on high alert. Some have begun to question whether security measures should be put in place at places of worship.
Many churches in wood county have expressed new concerns they have, after 26 people were killed at their place of worship Sunday.
Pastor Rick Hastings of the Pioneer Presbyterian Church in Belpre says, “It makes a challenge theologically to think about how do we respond in a situation like that.” Brady Seebaugh is a member of the security team and South Parkersburg Baptist Church and thinks this should spark action. “This world that we're living in is way different than it used to be. It is vital to have an active security team that has the training to handle different situations.”
But for years now, one local pastor has been using his experience as a former police officer, to help churches around the country prepare for an attack. Brady Stephens offers two seminars to churches.
“The one that is most often taught is how to respond to an armed threat or an armed attack on your church.” Stephens says. “The second one is a newer class and that is how to organize a church safety team.”
So far, he's taught his two hour class to a dozen local churches, as well as others in North Carolina, Virginia and Ohio, where the sizes have ranged from thousands, to handfuls. He says, “Any security plans should start with the parking lot. More than twice as many violent acts on church properties happen outside than they do inside. So any plan that you have to protect your church should start with the parking lot.”
South Parkersburg Baptist Church is one in the area that took Stephen's class and has a security team in place.
Seebaugh added, “I really would like to pass on from us members at South Parkersburg Baptist Church our condolences and our thoughts and prayers to southern Texas to all the people that were affected by this tragedy.”