"ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Megachurches with large audiences that frequently attract unstable people have long had a heightenend sense of security, experts say, but smaller churches like the one in Maryville, Ill., where a pastor was shot to death often have no security plan.This is a pretty sobering thought, but one that might be good to consider. How do you reconcile the safety of the congregation with welcoming all who come to worship?
First Baptist Church, where the Rev. Fred Winters was shot and killed Sunday, initiated a security and emergency plan six months ago but would not say what it entailed. Three people, including the gunman, were stabbed before he was subdued. ..."
Some congregations have resorted to discreetly-armed persons with at least one instance in Colorado Springs where a greater tragedy might have been averted because an armed parishioner was able to confront a gunman.
Yet most people, me included, have a gut feeling that having armed guards in a worship service is not an atmosphere in which we want to worship.
Still, it is prudent to have some sort of a prayerfully-considered contingency plan for dealing with emergencies of any type.