Tuesday, July 31

Pastor Charged in Fake Kidnapping, Intended as Lesson in Religious Persecution

From: The Washington Post

PITTSBURGH — A southeastern Pennsylvania church and a youth pastor are facing criminal charges for a mock kidnapping of a youth group that was meant to be a lesson in religious persecution.

The Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Middletown and 28-year-old Andrew David Jordan of Elizabethtown were charged Friday with false imprisonment and simple assault, said Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico.

Read More

Monday, July 30

Theater Massacre Shatters Sense of Security

From: USA Today

Shortly before she died in a darkened Colorado movie theater at the hand of a merciless gunman, Jessica Redfield witnessed the aftermath of another mass shooting in Toronto that left two dead.

The odds that a 24-year-old woman's life of promise would be scarred by one tragedy and taken a few days later in another are incalculable. But the haunting question she posted on her blog after the Toronto shooting — "Is this the world we live in?" — is unavoidable.

Read More

Quote from Carl Chinn (from article)

"There has been a slip in moral values that once held certain areas as somewhat sacred," said Carl Chinn, a security expert who since 1999 has documented 562 violent attacks on houses of worship, including one that killed two at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs where Chinn helps with security operations.

Sunday, July 29

Court upholds Georgia Ban on Guns in Church

From: The Washington Post

A federal appeals court has upheld Georgia’s ban on bringing guns into places of worship.

The Rev. Jonathan Wilkins, a Baptist pastor, and a gun-rights group had argued that church members should have the right to carry guns into worship services to protect the congregation.

But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday (July 20) that a Georgia law adopted in 2010 does not violate the Thomaston congregation’s First and Second Amendment rights.

Gun-rights advocates might want a weapon for self-defense, but that is a “personal preference, motivated by a secular purpose,” the court ruled.

Fire Destroys 108-year-old Church in Georgia

From: The Sacramento Bee

WINDER, Ga. -- Officials say they suspect lightning sparked a fire that destroyed a 108-year-old church in the northeast Georgia city of Winder.

Fire Chief Matt Whiting says the blaze at the historic Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit flared during a thunderstorm late Thursday.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/28/4669072/fire-destroys-108-year-old-church.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, July 28

Vandals paint 'There is no God'

RMO, SC (WACH) - Vandals are writing messages of hate on houses of worship, and Richland County deputies hope you can help track them down.

The congregation of Shady Grove United Methodist Church in Irmo is stunned after vandals spray painted anti-religious messages on church property.

Read More: http://www.midlandsconnect.com/news/story.aspx?id=775095#.T_879I4q9Sk

God, Guns and the Church: The Darkest Valley

From: Huffington Post - Religion

This reflection on Psalm 23 and gun violence in the United States was delivered at both N. Portland's University Park Church and SE Portland's Sunnyside Church by the Rev. Chuck Currie on July 22.

Our schools and churches and movie theaters are places we should expect to be safe. In these places we worship, we learn and we are entertained. But in recent years all these places -- along with shopping malls and restaurants and public parks -- have in moments of terror become killing fields as people with often-great mental instability who have access to weapons meant for battlefields open fire on innocent crowds causing mass deaths.

Read More

Friday, July 27

County Churches Partner to Combat Neighborhood Crime

From: Bradenton Times

PALMETTO -- The First Baptist Church of Palmetto joined in local efforts to reduce crime throughout the community’s poorer areas by implementing Adopt A Block mission programs. After successfully hosting its first outreach event in the spring, First Baptist now works in solidarity with four additional churches toward a common goal of safer Manatee County neighborhoods.

Retaining strong support from law enforcement, two First Baptist bible studies groups and members of North River, Sarasota Baptist, Bayside Community and Mt. Carmel churches distribute donated pancake breakfasts, form cleanup teams and entertain youth and senior residents among participating block locations.

Philadelphia Church Official Sentenced to at Least 3 Years in Prison

From: New York Times

PHILADELPHIA — Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Roman Catholic official in the United States to be convicted of covering up sexual abuses by priests under his supervision, was sentenced to three to six years in prison on Tuesday.

“You knew full well what was right, Monsignor Lynn, but you chose wrong,” said Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina as she imposed the sentence, which was just short of the maximum of three and a half to seven years.

Read More

Thursday, July 26

Baltimore Church Founder Sentenced for Sexual Offenses

From: Baltimore Sun

A Baltimore church founder was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday, with another 25 years held in suspension, for forcing his girlfriend’s teenage daughter to watch the couple having intercourse and to participate in sexual acts during a two-year period, the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office announced.

Read More

Copycat Criminal Action - "Think About It"

Copycat Criminal Action

By: Carl Chinn

On December 5th, 2007 – 19-year-old Robbie Hawkins killed 8 innocent shoppers then took his own life in the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska.

Two days later, a young man named Matthew Murray wrote in a public blog that, “it looks like one of the nobodies just became a somebody”. Two days after that and other references to Robbie Hawkins, Murray killed 2 at a Youth With a Mission facility, then traveled to our church where he killed two more before being stopped by security responses and killing himself in the hallway.

I will never forget something that happened at the end of a very long day at Focus on the Family in 1996. Four of us had been held hostage by an angry gunman from 1:30 PM until 3:00 PM that day. After the gunman surrendered late that night I accompanied the bomb squad to sweep the building looking for explosives. The last thing I was called upon for on that long day was to return to the crime scene with investigators to look over things near to where the gunman had positioned himself for 5 ½ hours.

Investigators were trying to sort out things that belonged in the area from things the gunman would have brought with him. “This yours?”, the investigator asked with a grin. He held up a Walkman and with his gloved hand popped it open to reveal a cassette soundtrack from “Natural Born Killers” -- a 1994 movie well known to have spawned many criminal acts.

When I encourage others to pay attention to copycat and media inspired crime, my fervor is encouraged by experience. Whether it is a significant anniversary or recent media frenzy, there are some on the bubble of emotional breakdown who will trigger over it.

The shooting at the Aurora movie theater affects us all.

Think About it:
  • After Marilyn Monroe’s leap to her own death on August 5th, 1962 there was a spike in national suicides. That August had 200 more suicides than average (a 12% increase). This is known as the Werther Effect based on the association of media and suicide seen first following the 1774 release of the book, “The Sorrows of Young Werther”. Since many spree killers also intend to die, this phenomena is one to be aware of after any significant attack.
  • “The Copycat Effect” is a book by Loren Coleman which addresses the association between media and criminal actions.
  • There will be follow up acts. Please be vigilant (but not over-the-top paranoid) at your organizations during this season.

Wednesday, July 25

Anger Grows Over Church's Handling Of Criminal Investigation

From: Fox News Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC - More parents come forward with concerns about how Victory Christian Center and its school handled sex crime charges against an employee that also involved a minor.

Those parents believe the pastor needs to talk about what happened and address the impact on the children.

"Are they going to be open and honest or are they going to make it seem not as serious as it really is?"

Tuesday, July 24

Is Additional Security Necessary at Movie Theaters?

From: Fox 21 News
By: Rachel Welte

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. -- Oklahoma City, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tucson and now Aurora.

Over the past two decades, Americans unfortunately have become all too familiar with domestic terrorism.

Carl Chinn has witnessed gun violence in his community first-hand, and not just once but twice.

Chinn was a staff member at Focus on the Family in 1996 when a gunman took several hostages.

"As a result of being a spokesperson at the following trials for the ministry, I became very involved," Chinn said. "I began to do research on the topic."

Then, a decade later, on December 9, 2007 Chinn was at New Life Church when Matthew Murray went on a shooting rampage in the parking lot killing two sisters.

Read More

Local Security Expert Shares Thoughts on Theater Shootings

Note: Carl Chinn (the local security expert) is a regular contributor to Security at Church with his weekly "Think About It Series"

Friday, July 20

17 held in attack, Rapes on Church Camp in Mexico

From: Boston.com

TOLUCA, Mexico—Police arrested 17 men Wednesday on suspicion of attacking youths and raping five women and girls who were on a church camping trip outside Mexico City, a brutal assault that shocked much of the country.

The attorney general for the State of Mexico, Alfredo Castillo, said 11 of the gang members were identified by some of the victims. In interrogation videos played for reporters, three of the suspects confessed that they sexually abused the women and girls because fellow attackers told them to.

Read More: http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2012/07/18/17_held_in_attack_rapes_on_church_camp_in_mexico/
Note: I posted this article because I know many churches send mission trips to Mexico during the summer and throughout the year. 

Research the U.S. State Department Travel Information Page before planning and going on a trip. http://travel.state.gov/

Thursday, July 19

The Devil You Know Article

From: Mail Tribune

"Sex offenders who disclose their past to a church should not be driven away"

A letter from an insurance company to a local church demanding that it strictly limit the participation of known sex offenders among its members says more about the insurance industry than about the congregation. The insurance company is within its rights to make whatever demands it pleases, but the congregation has every right to take its business elsewhere, and perhaps it should.

The issue arose when Set Free Christian Fellowship told its insurance carrier, Church Mutual, that there were known sex offenders in its congregation. Church Mutual told the fellowship that it must disclose to its congregation the identities of any and all sex offenders, limit their attendance to a single service each week, and require them to check in and be assigned an escort...

Read More

Fox News Break: Tennessee Mosque Sues to Open

From: Fox News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A federal judge on Wednesday will consider whether to force a Tennessee county to allow a Muslim congregation to begin worshipping in its newly built mosque, which has faced strong opposition from a group of residents.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro and its religious leader, Imam Ossama Bahloul, sued Rutherford County on Wednesday and asked the federal court for an emergency order to let worshippers into the building before the holy month of Ramadan starts at sundown on Thursday.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/07/18/apnewsbreak-tennessee-mosque-sues-to-open/#ixzz214sIbkKj

Wednesday, July 18

Interpol Ask Churches To Comply With Security Precautions

From: UG Pulse

The head of Interpol Afande Assan Kasingye is asking religious leaders to comply with a police directive for security checks at their places of worship.

Over the weekend the Kampala metropolitan police commander Andrew Kawesa said he was to black list all religious places without security check ups.

Kasigye says churches must comply since terrorists can target any place with a crowd.

He is also asking the church leaders to work closely with the securityorgans in sensitizing the masses about the dangers and the costs of terrorism. 

Tuesday, July 17

Thieves Target Berkeley Churches During Services

From: The Post and Courier

{While worshippers were raising a joyful noise inside Berkeley Baptist Church on Sunday, thieves were making some noise of their own smashing car windows in the church parking lot.

Brittany White thought her pocket book would be safe inside her husband’s truck during the service at the Moncks Corner church on U.S. Highway 52. She was wrong. Thieves broke a window and made off with her purse, which contained her Social Security card, credit cards and other belongings.}

Read More: http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20120710/PC16/120719976

Monday, July 16

Bishop Wants More Security

From: The Star

{THE Catholic Church has called on the government to intensify security at places of worship to protect them from attacks by terrorists. Bishop Philip Sulumet of the Kakamega diocese yesterday reiterated on the need for realignment of security organs to confront the new threats by organised terror grouping. ''This will prevent further attacks to the Christian faithful who have been left scared with a lot of unanswered questions. A number of them are now scared of going to church for prayers and have resorted to offering prayers from home or watching televisions to follow prayer sessions,” said Sulumet.}

Read More: http://www.the-star.co.ke/local/western--nyanza/84366-bishop-wants-more-for-churches

Sunday, July 15

Memphis Church - Multiple Church Burglaries

From: News Channel 3

{At Friendship Baptist Church on Vollentine in the Klondike Community, criminals have not been coming here to pray, but rather prey on a house of worship in North Memphis...

Thieves pulled up grates out of the parking lot, stole a sound system and just a few days ago they ripped out copper from three large air conditioners.}

Read More: http://wreg.com/2012/07/09/criminals-prey-on-north-memphis-church/

Saturday, July 14

Vandalism at Downtown Church - Amarillo

From: Amarillo Globe News

{Amarillo police are searching for a man who they said vandalized a downtown church and caused thousands of dollars in damage.

The man twice broke off several cast-stone pieces from a brick wall and the fountain at the First Baptist Church, 1208 S. Tyler St., Crime Stoppers coordinator Cpl. Sean Slover said. The first incident happened May 27 on the west side of the church and the second incident happened June 30 on the east side, said the Rev. Howard Batson, senior pastor of the church.}

Read More: http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/2012-07-10/police-searching-man-who-vandalized-church

Friday, July 13

Homeless Man Arrested for Violation of Trespass Warning

From: NWF Daily News

{FORT WALTON BEACH - A homeless man who was sleeping against a church door with a can of beer in his hand was arrested for trespassing.

On June 30 a Fort Walton Beach Police officer was performing a security check of the 1st Presbyterian Church on Beal Parkway when he found the 57-year-old man sleeping against the doors to one of the church halls. He was in possession of an open can of Steele Reserve beer.

The man was roused. As he gathered himself, the officer checked and found the man had been issued a trespass warning for the church. He was arrested.}

Thursday, July 12

Police: Church Arsonist Calls Police and Confesses to Crime

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Members of an Independence congregation are looking for a temporary place to worship after police say that someone deliberately set fire to their church.

Read More: http://fox4kc.com/2012/06/22/man-charged-in-arson-at-independence-church/

CHARLESTON, S.C - Rash of Church Burglaries

From: SFGate

{CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Berkeley County sheriff's deputies are investigating a rash of burglaries that have taken place as worshippers attended Sunday church services.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports bandits broke windows and stole purses and other items from cars in parking lots of three area churches Sunday.}

Read More: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Rash-of-robberies-in-SC-church-parking-lots-3695929.php

Note: Does your church have anyone responsible for checking your parking lots during your church service? Security Teams, Ushers, Parking Crews and Greeters are good options to accomplish this goal. Random patrols of the parking lot can help prevent break-in's, as well as, keeps down other problems like advertisers placing flyers on car windows during the service. 

Wednesday, July 11

Terrorist Plot: Plotting to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol

(Reuters) - A Massachusetts man charged with plotting to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol with large, remote-controlled model airplanes packed with explosives has agreed to plead guilty, authorities said on Tuesday.

Read More: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/11/us-usa-security-ferdaus-idUSBRE8690V420120711

Man arrested in church with two guns

Brian sent you a link from La Canada Flintridge Patch - Crime Blotter: Vandals Smash Church Windows

La Canada Flintridge Patch

63fbaed3df50109d70932051183aee4d Crime Blotter: Vandals Smash Church Windows
The following incidents were reported to the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station. Arrests do not indicate convictions....
I thought you might be interested in this article from the La Canada Flintridge Patch.
Visit Patch.com for more local news, reviews, and info.

Arson mulled in Los Alamos church fire

Investigating the Death of a Toddler - Family United Methodist Church

From: Wicked Local

{Saugus Police are investigating the death of a toddler outside of the Family United Methodist Church- Brazilian Ministry on Lincoln Avenue Sunday, July 8...

Sunday services had just let out at Family United Methodist Church's Brazilian Ministry at 2 p.m. when an accident occurred involving the toddler outside the church at 493 Lincoln Ave.}

Read more: UPDATE: Toddler dies leaving church in Saugus, no criminal charges warranted - Saugus, MA - Saugus Advertiser http://www.wickedlocal.com/saugus/news/x57816590/Toddler-killed-leaving-church-in-Saugus#ixzz20EUdm3sI

Tuesday, July 10

Sinners: iPads, MacBook stolen from church during Bible school | Crime | Lake Murray News

Suspect throws rock through church window, breaks in and steals cash

Church Members & Oakland Police Pursuit

From: KTVU

{OAKLAND, Calif. — An Oakland congregation was transformed into crime fighters Sunday night when the suspect involved in a police pursuit crashed in front of the church and raced inside in an attempt to elude police.}

Think About It - "It Wouldn’t Happen Here"

It Wouldn’t Happen Here!
By: Carl Chinn

Here in Colorado Springs the High-Park fire in Ft. Collins seemed a long way away. With the fire 150 miles to our north, we were irritated by the smoke. Prevailing thoughts were of wishing they would get it put out so our eyes would stop itching. The number of homes destroyed up there was tragic for them; “100 or so” had been lost.

It was far from us.

Then on Saturday 6/23/12 we heard of a new fire just west of Colorado Springs – in Waldo Canyon – an area where my wife typically hikes every week. So this was a little closer, and the smoke was a lot more irritating. As I visited a customer site on Tuesday afternoon around 2:00 PM, I saw many people photographing the C-130 tankers dropping fire retardant, and helicopters dumping Bambi-Buckets of water on the hills above us. It seemed to be about 2 miles away, with hundreds of firefighters between it and the homes (not to mention the constant flow of aerial protection efforts).

So it still seemed far from Colorado Springs as I (and most others) went about our busy schedules.

A little after 4:00 that afternoon, I was headed east (away from the fire) towards another customer site. Something caught my eye in the mirror, and I saw flames on our side of the mountain slopes. It seemed to be sliding down the mountain with the horrifying flames twice the height of the big pines it was exploding in its raging descent down the slope. The fire had produced it’s own weather, creating near hurricane-force winds, pushing it east down the mountain and towards Colorado Springs at 65 MPH. That sounds impossible to you reading it, and it looked just as impossible as we saw it.

The dragon was attacking.

I came out of that customer’s site about 5:10 PM and our world had changed. The parking lot I had just parked in an hour earlier now seemed like night due to the heavy smoke roaring over the entire region. As I drove away with my lights on, I saw all the parking lot and street lights with photocells were on as it seemed the sun was setting.

It had come to our town. And it was big and angry. As the night went on I heard of 3 church’s, and 6 Para-church ministries in it’s path where I had spoken on the importance of incident readiness over the last few years. Then I began getting e-mails from friends displaced. Some of those friends I have written of by name in my book – members of our church security team.

As I wrote this on Saturday 6/30, the number of homes destroyed was at 346. Surprisingly there have only been two deaths discovered. For an extraordinary time lapse history of the fire capturing the Tuesday rage see the 16-minute video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBA7eHY022k

Think About it:

  • As with any major disaster, things occur that impact people and businesses in a far reaching area, in ways many haven’t thought of before.
  • Our daughter (a fire-fighter in another jurisdiction) was called into the Waldo Canyon fire response team when it raged into town. Her crew evacuated a rest-home as the fire actually made it to the property as they were evacuating.
  • Church and Para-Church ministries were evacuated all throughout the area. They had less than 10 minutes to clear their buildings and get everyone out. In the days that followed, many ministries and churches with unoccupied offices invited their evacuated friends to come and set up operations until they could return to their properties. Some of those ministries (like Focus on the Family) were well equipped to bring them in and support them immediately. It was a remarkable display of ministries helping other ministries.
  • Some churches had already set up their sites as potential shelters. One church I am close to was in the midst of their preparations with the area Emergency Operations to designate their church as an emergency shelter when they too were evacuated out of the fire zone. Now they know first-hand how important it is for people and businesses to have a place to go.
  • The Burlington-Northern coal trains came to a stop and backed up the tracks both ways – south to Texas and north to Wyoming. The tracks went right through the evacuation zones.
  • When it’s somewhere else, it might be “300 or so” homes lost. When it’s your community, churches, friends and family -- it is 346. As I said in March -- Cancer, domestic abuse, business failure, divorce, tornadoes, tsunamis and the need for security are the kind of things many of us didn’t care about until they hit us personally. Then we learn all about it.
  • It can and does happen here.

Monday, July 9

Waldo Canyon Fire Pictures

I recently had the opportunity to tour some of the damage from the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs. Here are a few pictures I took of the devastation.

WALDO CANYON FIRE: Churches Support Fire Victims

From: Gazette

{Charred mountains provided the backdrop for the Sunday service at Wilson United Methodist Church, where about 150 people gathered outside feeling blessed their building was spared.

The crowd seated on the still-green church lawn had a view blackened grass where Waldo Canyon Fire stopped just across the street. Several nearby churches were equally blessed.}

Read more: http://www.gazette.com/articles/fire-141384-churches-blessed.html#ixzz208iEvvpS