Central Valley's faith leaders take look at how to keep their churches safe

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Last Sunday's violent incidents in Texas and here in Fresno have the Central Valley's faith leaders taking a close look at how to keep their churches safe.

A message of unity draws together the members of Fresno's Cornerstone Church this Sunday.

But they are also well aware of how vulnerable this time of differences can make them.

Cornerstone Church Pastor, Jim Franklin said, "I think what happened in Texas is a wake-up call to many pastors to say you know, we do need to do something."

Safety patrols are conspicuous on the Cornerstone Campus and have been since the fight over Prop 8.

Pastor Jim Franklin says he got very believable threats back then.

And now, he just wants to make sure his congregation feels safe.

To stay that way, he does not mind if they come to church carrying legal concealed weapons.

"We don't ask them and we don't tell them that they can't," said Franklin.

Unity was also the message at Saint Rest Baptist this Sunday as Pastor D.J. Criner let his Southwest Fresno Church Reach North for a sermon from the lead pastor of People's Church.

Criner says it is disturbing to know the place people thought of as a haven for peace turned into a place where you can be targeted.

But he knows his congregation is in good hands.

Saint Rest Baptist Church Pastor, D.J. Criner said, "We do have individuals in the church who are in law enforcement. We haven't hired them. They are members of our congregation. And I will never let anybody know who they are."

Criner says he has talked to several faith leaders about security.

He is taking a closer look at emergency evacuation plans and security cameras, knowing people may be scared, and in his church, they are his flock to shepherd.

"When they're in the sanctuary, we become their supervising agents. We have to make sure the people of the body of Christ are ok," said Criner.

So while they believe the Lord will protect them, they know man has a role to play in keeping the sanctuary secure.
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