Church leaders take back their churches and neighborhoods - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Church leaders take back their churches and neighborhoods

Some Mid-Southerners go to church to pray and end up being preyed upon by thieves.

This weekend, church leaders met with officers at a special conference aimed at taking back their churches and the neighborhoods around them.

In a demonstration, ministers and officers watch as a man bursts into a sanctuary and approaches a minister in a threatening manner.

"That's a very good idea because anything can happen anywhere," says Sheriff's Deputy Anthony Nelson.

And that's the lesson deputies are teaching ministers from around the Mid-South through this Watchman Conference called Protecting God's People, God's House and God's Servants.

"The whole purpose is for pastors to be informed, ushers to be informed and deacons and ministries to be informed," says Minister Wilder Lee.

They want to be informed on how to respond to an attack, a theft or any other crime at a church. "Well, today churches are a target because it's the least expected place a criminal may attack and today's church is open to vandalism, robbery and crimes of that sort," adds Lee.

During the conference, church leaders talked with officers about ways to make church buildings safer.

"Well, everything from how to recognize a threat to how to potentially deal with a threat," says Organizer Bishop Charles Watkins.

Organizers put a special focus on church parking lots, a place where more and more worshippers are getting ripped off.

"Yes it is cause thieves see an easy target because you got a lot of cars in one place and people are not aware of what's going on around em they leave items in the vehicles don't lock their doors just leave items visible within the vehicle," adds Nelson.

Conference organizers say the bottom line is it's time for churches to start using all their resources to keep members safe.


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