St. Matthews Re-enforcing Security Measures

One of North Carolina’s largest churches is re-enforcing its some security measures while adding others.

The head pastor of Saint Matthew church, John McSweeney sent out a memo Friday, detailing what items are banned from the church and other means to prevent violence.

Leaders of Saint Matthew Parish have long had security measures in place including security officers on campus 24/7 and more than 60 surveillance cameras.

“We have just decided that maybe it's best to communicate these through an email,” said Antoinette Usher, Facilities and Operations Director at the church.

So they send out a memo in an email, which includes a formal list of 15 banned items, such as large bags, backpacks, diaper bags, lap tops, and laser pointers.  A task force with the church defined those items.

“These folks are staffing volunteers that of been trained in that come together and generate a list of items that we think are probably not A good thing to bring to church,” said Usher.

“It puts everyone at ease because we don't have to worry about someone coming in with big bags or oversized coats that they can carry weapons,” said Betty Ogbuneke.

The church isn’t doing this to inconvenience parishioners.

“They know that Monsignor McSweeney is very concerned about their spiritual well-being as well as their overall well-being and that's why he's done this,” said Usher.

Nor is this done in response to any particular threat but rather as a way of being proactive.

Saint Matthew’s members and staff alike say security measures like the ones outline in the memo has become commonplace and not just at churches but many public places.

“It's just become that way in the world it's just not the same place it was five and ten years ago.”

“Do I like it no I think it's the shame that we have to be so restrictive but it's going to keep everybody safe and we have to do it,” said Rita Tate, a member of the church.

More than 10,000 families attend mass at Saint Matthew Catholic Church and McSweeney just hopes to protect each and every one of them.