Monday, April 7, 2014

Local places of worship seek balance between security, accessibility

From Bradford PA-

In light of several violent or otherwise criminal acts in or near area places of worship in recent years, local religious leaders are looking to strike the right balance between security and accessibility.
Churches and synagogues have always been places of sanctuary, where anyone is welcome to seek answers or assistance. They don’t keep regular business hours and they don’t turn anyone away — and, lately, that open-door policy has left them open to some safety issues.

Last month, a man claiming to be under the influence of drugs went inside the Grace Lutheran Church and threatened to blow it up with the parishioners inside. Meanwhile, there have been break-ins at St. Bernard Roman Catholic Church and the First Presbyterian Church, and the Temple Beth El synagogue has been vandalized several times in recent years.

Perhaps the most devastating act of crime in a local place of worship occurred in December 2012, when a elementary school music teacher entered the First United Presbyterian Church of Coudersport and fatally shot his ex-wife as she played the organ for the congregation.

More here-

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