Illinois church protects congregation with armed security team

Heartland church takes proactive stance on security

MARION, IL (KFVS) - The shooting deaths of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina Wednesday has raised questions about safety in places of worship across America.

Cornerstone Church in Marion, Ill. is one church that takes measures to protect its worshipers.

Cornerstone has an armed security team made up of ex-military and police who watch over services. The team goes through special training and are all volunteers.

During regular services on Sunday nearly 1,000 people attend Cornerstone services.

Cornerstone's Assistant Church Pastor Jason Thrash said the tragedy in Charleston shows us that even churches have to be ready for anything.

“We have at Cornerstone we have determined that it's important that we protect our people," Thrash said. "So, we do have a protection team. We have a security team for our kids and for our children's programs and procedures for them."

“They were there worshiping god and here comes some one that wants to do harm to them," Thrash said. "That's just really sad that that's the place we are today.”

Cornerstone Church leaders say they want everyone to feel welcome.

“One thing that I keep hearing the word shooting," Thrash said. "When I go out and shoot my gun that's a shooting. This was a killing.”

Pastor Thrash said his security team and other churches can learn a lot from what happened in Charleston, but they pray nothing like that ever happens again.

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