One Region 8 church is beefing up security measures - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

One Region 8 church is beefing up security measures

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

"When that was announced to the entire conference, it really hit home to a lot of pastors--I mean that's just too close," said First United Methodist Church Pastor Reverend John Sandine.

 Reverend John Sandine is talking about the brutal beating death of a Cross County woman inside of her church last month.

"The world is not what it used to be unfortunately," said Sandine.

 Sandine says he knows crimes can happen anywhere including a place of worship, prompting him to take action.

"We get into this idea that it will never happen here, but we've seen it happen to many times," said Sandine.

Sandine announced to his congregation on Sunday only the front doors and elevator doors will be open during church services--the rest are to be locked, and that's not all.

"We have changed the door locks.   We have placed a peephole and a doorbell on the north side--that door will be locked while we're here," said Sandine.

Sandine says he wants people to feel like the church is open--but he also wants people to be safe.

75 percent of the churches do not have any security plan, and it's just reached a point where we have to change," said Sandine.

It's change he says that will take some getting used to, but he says he hopes his parishioners understand why they're necessary.  

"To worship God, to sing praises to him, to learn of his word--I want them to be able to devote their full attention to that and not have to worry about their safety," said Sandine. 

Sandine says he's still able to see who's entering the church when the front doors are open and they can hear the elevator door when they open too.  He says they would like to have even more security measures like cameras, for instance, in the future.

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