Local Churches Preach Preparedness After Deadly Texas Shooting - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Local Churches Preach Preparedness After Deadly Texas Shooting

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Churches are what experts call "soft targets" for attacks. Church leaders locally are concerned about keeping their congregations safe.

A church has always stood as a place of safety and sacredness - the pews comfortable enough for the saints and the alter, a home for the heavenly. 

The sheer horror of what happened inside a small Baptist church in Texas is threatening that centuries old assumption.

“More and more churches do have security teams,” said Mike Maynard, security manager for Imago Dei Church in Reno.

Imago Dei Church is one of the churches taking security as seriously as the principles they preach. Every Sunday, qualified volunteers with military and law enforcement backgrounds are armed and prepared for an attack. 

“We want to give our congregation a feeling of safety knowing there is people there willing to step up and protect them.”

They are taking what was once taboo, congregants concealed carrying inside the church, and allowing it. They just ask those who are packing to let them know.  

“As long as we're aware of who's carrying and who's not.”

At Saint Thomas Aquinas in downtown Reno, they are the only parish in the local Catholic diocese with a uniformed security team, yet they have a strict policy much different than Imago Dei. 

“Guns are not permitted on church property ever,” said Father Bob Chorey. He is not taking the Texas massacre lightly either, but doesn't see any change coming to the current diocesan policy that bans guns and relies on ushers to address security concerns.

“People at the door greeting and just noticing this person is acting strange or we need to keep our eye on this person and just be aware of what's going on around us.”

There's one thing these two churches agree on that their message of love and acceptance will not be replaced by fear. 

“We are doing our part and we will do our part to ensure safety and make sure everyone is welcomed and cared for.”

“We have to be welcoming and we have to be open to everyone, but that doesn't mean we don't look at the world realistically,” said Pastor Santino Cantalupo of Imago Dei. 

Several churches in town are participating in an active shooter training this weekend.

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