UTICA, N.Y. — When Pastor Mike Hughes first heard about the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX, he said he was stunned.
“Really, every church is like a family,” he said. “Whether it’s 50 people, or here where there’s a lot more people, we’re a family here. So that’s immediately my thoughts, is we’re a family. If this happened here it would be devastating.”
His next thought – that it could happen here.
“I think that the dumbest thing anyone can say anywhere these days is it could never happen here,” Hughes said. “I think for us, a long time ago we started thinking about the importance of securing the church.”
After other incidents at churches, Redeemer Church vamped up security measures, specifically in their children’s wing. Most recently the church added on additional security personnel.
“They’re throughout the congregation. That’s the thing they do, they’re always looking, they work with the first impressions team; again, it’s not a police state or security kind of environment, but we take the safety of our congregation very seriously,” Hughes said.
He also said the next step is to look at the security measures they have in place now and see how they can improve.
“I mean you can’t just be staring at every person that walks in, but you have to have something in place so that our people know when they come here, attenders, members, children – they know they’re walking into a safe place, as safe as we can make it in this day and age,” Hughes said.