Nedd: Don't let your congregation be a 'soft target'

Monday, November 5, 2018
 | 
Chad Groening, Billy Davis (OneNewsNow.com)

Concealed carryThe mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, where 11 Jews were killed by a hate-spewing anti-Semitic gunman, has convinced an Anglican pastor to openly wear a firearm behind the pulpit.

"As a pastor, as a shepherd of a flock, I have an obligation to provide for the care and the protection of those in my congregation," Council Nedd II tells OneNewsNow. "And that's what I intend to do."

Nedd serves as rector at St. Alban's Anglican Church, located in State College, and he is also an elected Pennsylvania state constable and carries a firearm as part of a dangerous job knocking on doors and serving warrants.

He says he recently preached at St. Alban's with his service pistol on his hip, a practice known as "open carry," rather than keeping the firearm out of view.

The massacre at Tree of Life synagogue is a reminder, Nedd says, that the world is full of evil people who are determined to commit evil acts, and a house of worship is often viewed as a "soft target" for them, he says.

The 2017 church shooting at a Baptist church Sutherland Springs, Texas, is the worst church shooting in U.S. history. A gunman killed 26 worshippers, including children, on a Sunday morning. 

OneNewsNow readers who are regular churchgoers may be familiar with security measures at their own congregation, including members carrying a concealed firearm as part of a security team. Some of those security measures may be traced back to the Sutherland Springs shooting.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Tree of Life, which housed three congregations, operated with "no security personnel at all" for its regular Shabbat service.

A door that is locked during the week is unlocked on the Sabbath.

The same story quoted a security expert at the Anti-Defamation League who told the Post that many synagogues work closely with local law enforcement to increase their safety. Some synagogues hire private security, which is costly.

"One of the things that people tend to forget," Nedd says of law enforcement help, "is that police are first responders. They aren't the first preventers."

Nedd says all places of worship should take steps to provide security to their congregations. 

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