One week after the deadly mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, many churches across the country spent Sunday with security on their mind.
“I think it is a real concern. There are shootings at all kinds of soft targets,” said Dave Veach, who oversees 200 Foursquare churches, mainly in the Pacific Northwest. “I think we have to be prepared. It’s just wisdom.”
The church’s national headquarters shared an online video this week, reminding pastors and staff about security measures on Sundays.
In Bothell, Eastside Foursquare Church hires an armed city police officer.
“And we’ve got some other people in the room, too besides the ushers that are actually trained in what to look for and they have that background as well,” said Russell Schlecht, Eastside Foursquare’s senior pastor.
The training refers to staff being aware of suspicious visitors who might show red flags, like those regularly running in and out of the sanctuary. The church declined to share all of their safety measures in order to not tip off any possible bad actors.
“It’s just making sure that things are well taken care of and are in order and people who have come to do harm, if they ever do, would be found at the door,” said Veach.
Schlecht wishes they wouldn’t have to prepare for a situation like this, but it’s a reality of today’s world.
“We can’t guarantee safety for everybody, but we can go a long way to make sure that we’re doing our best to provide that,” he said.