East Texas churches forming 24-hour watch groups - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texas churches forming 24-hour watch groups

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - As churches pray for protection, congregations are taking extra measures to keep their places of worship secure.

At Southern Oaks the congregation members formed a security team as soon as the fires in  Tyler broke out. Parishioners take turns patrolling the parking lot through the night.

The first shift is from 6pm to midnight. The second shift is from midnight to 6am.

The watch group is completely voluntary. Church members sign up and usually work in groups of two.

Southern Oaks is not the only East Texas church taking measures into their own hands.

Congregation members at Friendly Baptist Church are on patrol all night and they are in the process of improving their alarm systems.

Lanes Chapel has teamed up with a church across the street and hired a security service to patrol both churches.

The pastors say they are saddened that they have to lock down their churches, but confidant their added protection will scare criminals away.

"I slept a whole lot easier that first night once that security was in place, knowing there were eyes watching and people patrolling," said Pastor Dale Perry, with Friendly Baptist Church.

"As long as this person is out there doing this we will have someone watching for them," said Tony Garrett, with Southern Oaks.

All of the churches spoken with said they have been advised by authorities to call law enforcement if they see any unusual activity. They do not want anyone to get hurt while watching their buildings.

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