Houses of worship attend summit on protecting against violence
The U.S Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Georgia partnered with the Georgia Sheriff's Association and local law enforcement to host a summit for area houses of worship Tuesday.
MACON, Georgia(41NBC/WMGT) — Faith-based organizations in middle Georgia are making sure they’re protected against those looking to carry out violence.
The U.S Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia partnered with the Georgia Sheriff’s Association and local law enforcement to host a summit for area houses of worship Tuesday.
Dr. Ike Mack, Senior Pastor of Unionville Missionary Baptist Church, says it was important for his church to host the summit, dubbed “Protecting Houses of Worship.”
He also says having a plan in case of a violent act is important.
“We have had a plan,” he said. “Pretty much back at the time when the mother church in Charleston experienced that tragedy during that Wednesday night bible study, I knew then for certain that that could’ve been any place, any church, anywhere and any pastor.”
Tuesday’s summit brought together faith-based leaders with one goal in mind: combating violence.
“We put some things strategically in place, but it has become broader now,” Mack said. “It’s important that we just not only look at the classes, but that we reach the masses.”
Law enforcement across middle Georgia were also in attendance.
Bibb County Sheriff David Davis says he wants to make sure places of worship know the signs of violence.
“Be vigilant, be observant, knowing who is on your premises, be watchful for people who may have been making threats,” he said.
Peter Leary, the U.S Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, says houses of worship should be places of peace and be protected.
“It’s important to have a safety plan in place before violence occurs,” he said. “Which means having exit strategies, how to harden the target of the house of worship. Today, we are giving a lot of education on what’s going on across the country.”
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The U.S Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia is also taking part in the “Armed with Knowledge Campaign” to ensure children are protected in school.