A place of worship turned into a place of tragedy last week after nine people were gunned down during bible study at a historic church in South Carolina. The event is making some wonder if church is even safe in this day and age. Missourinet’s Alisa Nelson reached out to two Missouri churches about their efforts to try to protect their members.

church pewsDirector Paul Monda with Concord Baptist Church in Jefferson City told Missourinet the tragic event in South Carolina highlights the need to try to keep their congregation safe during worship.

“To not have a security program to me would be negligent. I would not be able to deal with myself if an event and I was not actively working to try to prevent such things.”

Monda says it’s unfortunate that churches have to go to such lengths.

“That is truly the sign of the times,” said Monda. “To not deal with it, to ignore is doing a disservice to our church, or to anyone’s church.”

Monda says their security team tries to keep safety measures discreet so that members can focus on worship.

Father Greg Meystrik with St. Peter Catholic Church in Jefferson City says security is challenging but necessary.

other emmanuel church pic“The security measures that we have in place, we seek to balance both hospitality and safety for everyone involved.”

Meystrik says his security team focuses on the safety of youth and minors, so that children can live, learn and grow in faith. He says they examine their security measures on a regular basis and the group tries to be proactive.

“That can help curb a problem before it exists too, or before something blows up to be something greater,” said Meystrik. “That doesn’t alleviate every bad situation from happening, but it can do a lot to prevent one.”

South Carolina is still reeling from the violent and racially motivated acts of a gunman who targeted the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston last Wednesday. Dylann Roof was arrested and admitted to shooting the nine innocent victims.