In the wake of 26 murders by a heavily armed gunman in a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church last Sunday morning, Red Bank area religious leaders plan to meet with law enforcement officials to discuss security issues this week.
At the behest of the leadership of Pilgrim Baptist Church, church ministers and others are expected to meet with borough police Chief Darren McConnell Thursday to talk about how to keep their congregations safe.
“As our Houses of Worships remain ‘soft targets’ for evil doers, each of us should have a plan in place,” Pilgrim Baptist’s Reverend Terrence Porter said in a message to his colleagues Tuesday morning.
Following the murders of nine congregants at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015, Pilgrim Baptist worked with borough police and the volunteer fire department to develop emergency evacuation plans, Porter said.
Now, he said, “we’re justing looking to ensure the plan we have in place is not obsolete, and to see what else we can give our worshippers in terms of assuring their safety.” Other church leaders have expressed similar concerns, he said.
Sunday’s mass killing in Texas, and the shootings of seven worshippers outside a Tennessee church in September, prompted the re-evaluation, Porter told redbankgreen Tuesday.
“We’re probably a little late to the game,” he said. “The reality is starting to sink in.”
Porter said he has also asked the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for representation at the meeting, scheduled for 1 p.m.