Guns, God and places of worship

JaNae Francis in the Ogden Standard-Examiner:

Two local church leaders have very different views about whether guns should be allowed in churches.

Shannon Schreyer , pastor of God’s Place, an Assemblies of God church in Ogden, said he feels relatively safe having a church in Ogden as opposed to other locations across the country.

But he said planning for safety still is key.

“It’s wisdom to have some sort of plan in place,” Schreyer said.

He said his plan involves members of his church who are trained and prepared to respond. “There are a lot of law enforcement in the Air Force, people who are in our congregation,” he said. “Most are required to have a concealed weapon. We’ve always felt very comfortable with that.”

But at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, the Rev. Susan Beem Beery said she asks herself, “What would Jesus do?” and comes up with a totally different answer regarding guns in church. She said a few years ago when universities were addressing whether to allow concealed weapons on campus, the Episcopal churches passed a resolution not to allow guns in their buildings.

She said at that time, Episcopal churches posted signs telling visitors that their guns were not welcome inside.

“I just take my golden retriever with me,” she said.

But she also outlined extra measures members in her building and at other churches are taking to ensure safety. She said they are more careful these days about locking the doors and about making sure they know who is at the door. Video cameras are doing a lot to ensure safety at churches, she said.

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