Texas Church Massacre Prompts FBCLG’s Rev. Soaries To Reassure Congregants

The Rev. DeForest “Buster” Soaries, seen here in a file photo, sent an email message to his congregants Nov. 6 summarizing the steps church officials take to ensure their safety.

In the wake of the Texas church mass shooting, at least one local church is taking steps to reassure its congregants that they are safe within its walls.

The Rev. DeForest “Buster” Soaries, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, Route 27, sent out an email to his congregants during the evening of Nov. 6 in which he summarized the steps church officials routinely take to ensure safety.

On Nov. 5, a 26-year-old Texas man opened fire on a church full of worshipers, killing 26 and wounding dozens of others. The man was later found dead.

“It seems that attacks on churches are becoming disturbingly common in America,” Soaries wrote in the email. “Activist H. Rap Brown was widely criticized and considered hyper radical when he said in the 1960’s that “violence is as American as cherry pie.” However, his words seem to be more and more true as guns and violence make few places safe – including church sanctuaries.”

“Please know that the leaders of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens take your safety and security very seriously,” Soaries wrote. “We have invested thousands of dollars in equipment that enhances our ability to mitigate security risks and keep our congregation safe. Our security director has implemented ongoing training for ministries, teaching them how to be observant and proactive in identifying possible threats to our activities and operations. We maintain active working relationships and coordination with local, county and state law enforcement agencies, and they are present whenever the congregation gathers for worship or special events. Finally, the church employs professional security personnel that work as integral parts of our church staff.”

“All of these actions and resources have been in place for the past few years and we will continue to expand our security programming to meet the needs of our very active church,” he wrote.

“While we believe in life after death and that heaven is our eternal home, we also know that no one plans to go to heaven as a result of being murdered while worshiping the God of heaven and earth,” Soaries wrote.

When asked if township police are stepping up their activities around houses of worship in light of the Texas attack, Franklin Township Police Lt. Philip Rizzo said in an email that the department has “had a long-standing relationship with the many houses of worship within the Township. We will continue these open dialogues to provide the safest environment possible.”


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