Bay Area faith leaders concerned about security following Charleston shooting

OAKLAND (KRON) — Following Wednesday’s shooting at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, some Bay Area faith leaders are worried that their churches could be targeted.

The church massacre dominated the discussion at the regular monthly gathering of the A.M.E. Church, California Ministerial Alliance at Soul’s Restaurant. Many voiced concerns about church security.

Reverend Freda Cash urged the group to proceed with caution when it comes to implementing any new safety measures in the church. Reverend Anthony L. Hughes expressed concern that too much security could send the wrong message to those most in need of the church.

The First A.M.E. Church in Oakland has been around for 153 years. Dr. Harold Mayberry laments the need to place guards around the sanctuary to protect church members from being attacked by a gunman, saying it brings up feelings of “sadness, disappointment, that persons can’t even be in the house of God. Even when they’re trying to worship, they’re not safe.”

However, because of the church’s long tradition of keeping its doors open to everybody, there will be limits to any new security.

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