FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — The deadly shooting in a Texas church is raising concerns about safety in places of worship.
In the shooting in White Settlement, Texas, a security team member inside the church shot the gunman seconds after he killed two people.
That sparked the question; Should guns be allowed in our churches?
“It’s just devastating to think that people have to go to church armed and prepared to take the life of another person,” said Senior Pastor Mark Williams from Spirit of Peace Church.
Spirit of Peace in Fayetteville is home to many LGBTQ community members.
“We know what it’s like to have people gunned down and shot and killed,” said Williams.
He’s only allowed guns in his parish once, after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Florida.
“At that one particular service, I did have a minister from another denomination who had a concealed weapon permit come and sit in our congregation,” he said.
But, it’s not something he wants to repeat.
Williams said, “I don’t think I would want to pastor a church that would encourage bringing firearms into a worship facility.”
His ideals—in stark contrast to Preaching Minister Jack English of Center Street Church of Christ.
“I personally don’t have an issue with people who are legally and trained carrying concealed in church,” said English.
Each service, a few trained men, who English allows to carry, stand in the back to protect the congregation.
He said, “We also lock all of our doors except for the front doors five minutes after worship begins.”
English has been a trained hunter for most of his life.
He said he’s been surrounded by guns since a young age.
Q: “Would you ever consider carrying while you’re preaching at the service?”
A: “Certainly. Who’s to know I’m not?”
Though the two have different philosophies, both English and Williams share the same sentiment on these mass, deadly shootings.
English said, “Upset, disturbed by this.”
Williams said, “These things have to stop.”