Georgetown security church summit attracts hundreds of congregation leaders

The mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs was a rude awakening for faith followers across the country. 26 people were killed after a gunmen opened fire inside the church.

Williamson county Sheriff Robert Chody sprang into action asking the public on Twitter about interest in a church security summit. The event had more than 150 people register and close to a thousand attend.

"The take away I want from this whole program to be is that each church no matter how small or large the significance of what they need to do in their program that they implement…some type of plan," Chody said.

Senior pastor at Celebration Church in Georgetown Joe Champion attended the event to review measures his church already has in place.

"Pastors step up and ask do we need to make any changes do we have the right people in place are we prepared are we trained and are we putting a enough resources it could be time and energy and even dollars," Champion said.

Celebration church has six marked police cars and a security staff that checks people’s bags before entering the building.
 
"We want to also send a message to anyone who wants to cause any harm that we are on our game," said Champion.

During the summit, attendees discussed security procedures like what to do in case of an emergency and how to assess a threat no matter the church size.

Deacon of St. Stephens Missionary Baptist Church Zimmery Williams said the open conversation at the summit was knowledgeable and he appreciated Sheriff Chody putting the event together.

"You know people want to come to church and feel like they can come into church and worship and be healed not have to worry about a gunmen having a gunmen coming in the back of the church you know and posing a threat so we have to make our parishioners comfortable in church and that's kind of the way we started and that's the way we want to keep it and I think that's crucial," said Zimmery Williams.

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