A Rock Hill congregation sends their condolences to those who had loved ones killed in a Texas church shooting, one week ago.
Arnie McManus, Senior Pastor of New Birth Baptist Church, described the incident as alarming.
“It just reminded me so much of our church, just a small church. It was a reminder that it could happen to anybody, at any time,” McManus said.
Since the shooting, his congregation has been talking about what security changes can be done to make the church better prepared.
Some of the new measures include creating emergency response plans for members, code words that would signify a problem and concealed carry permits so members can be equipped with their weapons at church.
“I am called to be a shepherd, a shepherd of the Lord’s flock. So I feel responsible for protecting the little lambs and the sheep. Scripture also backs us up on that, that we protect ourselves. I wouldn’t want to be negligent in protecting the flock,” McManus said.
The church already has one member with a concealed carry permit. He brings a gun to service on Sundays.
McManus said another member is starting the concealed carry permit process. The member had mentioned applying for the permit in the past, but the recent Texas church shooting is now speeding up that member’s timeline of getting one.
McManus referenced Luke 22 in the Bible, a scripture that details the story of when Jesus told his disciples to equip themselves with a money bag, knapsack and a sword as they went to travel to share the word.
“What I gather from that, is that the Lord does not want us to be aggressive, but to always have protection, just in case it’s needed. I think the scripture backs it up. There’s always going to be some people who disagree with that, but I think when it comes down to it, if their church was threatened, and their home was threatened and their families were threatened, I believe they’d wish they’d had something to protect themselves,” McManus said.
The church, which caters to about 70 members, has been made aware that at least two members and possibly more, intend to get concealed carry permits so they can start carrying guns for protection during services.
“We don’t ever want to heart someone,” McManus said. “But we’re living in an evil world and lots of time you don’t have any choice. We have so many children here. That was one of the things that hit me so hard when I saw the pictures of the victims from Texas, was all the children who’d been killed. And I just can’t imagine that happening here.”