Security A Concern For New York Religious Community After Texas Shooting

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.(CBSNewYork) — The Texas church shooting has some houses of worship in our area re-thinking security.

They want to keep welcoming people of all faiths while making sure everyone is safe.

As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, the unthinkable massacre has been reverberating at places of worship in New York.

“Eventually, they’re going to start frisking people just to come in and praise God you know, cause it’s getting out of hand,” Akira DuBose said.

At Saint Matthews Lutheran Church in White Plains, the sign says ‘welcome, the church is open for prayer.’ The doors are unlocked, but DuBose fears more security is needed.

“Right now, it’ll make me feel safe,” she said.

The double doors are always open during the day at Christ Episcopal Church in Tarrytown, but several churches told CBS2’s Conybeare they are now having difficult discussions about safety in what seems like an ever more dangerous world.

“It was just last week when people were killed on the bike path, so where we safe? I mean we are vulnerable everywhere,”Rev. Susan Copley said.

Rev. Copley lit candles and held a prayer vigil for the Texas victims Monday morning, but refuses to live in fear or turn the historic sanctuary into a fortress.

“It didn’t even cross my mind that we would close the doors,” she said.

“What happened in Texas is a horrible crime,” Rabbi Gordon Tucker said.

Tucker is the senior rabbi at Temple Israel in White Plains where there are security cameras, a buzzer at the locked front door, and congregants just had to pay a $100 assessment to cover security guards at every service because of terror threats in the Middle East hitting home.

“I feel very bad for my Christian colleagues. It gives us no sense of camaraderie that they have to start feeling what we’ve been feeling. I wish they didn’t have to feel it,” Rabbi Tucker said.

Security is always tight at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Cardinal Dolan credits the NYPD for making his parishioners feel safe.

“I think our people are less distracted, I think our people are able to pray a bit more securely, so it helps,” Dolan said.

Rabbi Tucker said they have gone through active shooter training drills with the police, and sometimes have 10 security guards on site during the high holidays.

 

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