Saturday, May 11

Lakewood Church - Fake Osteen Profiles - Internet Security

From: Chron News
Coming on the heels of another hoax in April, Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen are among other ministers reaching to fans on Facebook and Twitter about fake social media accounts being made in their name. Others being targeted include Rick Warren, Benny Hinn and Jamal Bryant.

An elaborate scheme in early April had a fake Osteen claiming to be quitting his ministry citing "lack of faith." Obviously this wasn't true, but it was widespread enough for the Lakewood camp to issue a statement refuting it.

The fake Osteen Facebook pages have been making friend requests, soliciting money, and even offering jobs to would-be victims, who were to send the faux Osteen their banking information. Lakewood and Osteen are asking that people encountering these scam profiles report them to Facebook.

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Security at Church: Does your place of worship consider internet security?

Tuesday, May 7

A Teenage Girl Allegedly Abducted by a Man at Church

From: WFFA News

A teenage girl allegedly abducted by a man police described as an "obsessed" former boyfriend was found safe this afternoon and the man was taken into custody, police said.

Ruby Zavala, 14, and her alleged captor, Jesus Ramirez, 23, were found in an area near Mount Pleasant, Texas, that has been the focus of a search for the last 30 hours, ABC News' Dallas affiliate WFAA reported.

Mount Pleasant Police Chief Wayne Isbell told earlier today that authorities believed Ramirez was upset with his ex-girlfriend, spurring him to kidnap the teen, her mother and her sister said Sunday from Saint Michael's Catholic Church in Mount Pleasant.

Church security is focus of conference at scene of Fort Worth shootings

From: WFAA News

FORT WORTH — Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth will forever be known for a night in 1999 when a gunman interrupted a prayer rally.

Seven people were killed and seven others wounded by a man shouting anti-church rhetoric who then took his own life.

So church officials are happy to host a large seminar this week on preventing violent attacks on worshipers.

"For me, I see a lot of value in this," said Wedgwood employee Jeff Laster, who was taking photos of the conference.

Laster was the first one shot in the 1999 incident. He sees value in about 500 peace officers and church workers sharing security plans and philosophies.

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Monday, May 6

Think About It: By Carl Chinn - Stuff Happens

Think About It Series: By Carl Chinn

Stuff Happens

The week of Sunday, 4/28 through Friday, 5/3 was a revealing, while not abnormal, look at church crimes across the U. S. Had I not been getting on a plane and preparing for the Sheepdog Seminar in Texas, I would have selected an example for Saturday as well.

On Sunday, 4/28/13 -- 24-year-old Lawrence Capener went wild with a knife in the St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in Albuquerque, NM. As he rushed the platform where the choir was singing "Take My Hand, Precious Lord", he was going over the pews. As he made it to the stage, he yelled, “Fake preacher!” After stabbing four choir members (who are expected to survive), church members overpowered him and held him down as they waited for law enforcement to arrive.

At 5:30 AM on Monday April 29th -- an alert citizen observed a man climbing a pole beside the Good Shepherd Church in Royal Oak, MI. Police surrounded the church, and with the help of a K-9 unit discovered 45-year old Paul E. Murray hiding in the basement of the church where he was arrested for breaking and entering.

On Tuesday night April 30th -- a surveillance camera captured the face of 25-year-old William Hutto as he broke into the Albany Baptist Church in Albany, GA. It was the 2nd time that church had been burglarized in three days. Hutto has now been charged with three more church burglaries in the same county.

On Wednesday May 1st -- Corinth, TX Pastor Jeffery Dale Williams of The Church of Corinth was arrested for attempted sexual performance on a child. The incident had occurred a month prior, but enough evidence had accumulated during that time for an arrest. If the charges are true, it is one of many despicable examples of abuse by a person of trust. If the charges are a malicious fabrication, it is one of the many ways religious leaders are attacked.

On Thursday May 2nd -- FBI and IRS agents stormed the Swedenborgian Church on the Hill in Beacon Hill, MA saying, “Nobody move, nobody leave.” After several hours the federal agents were seen carrying boxes of evidence out to vehicles. It all appears to have something to do with a church employee and is said to not be connected to the nearby recent Marathon bombing.

On Friday May 3rd -- in Centralia, WA a house on the property of the Church of the Nazarene was intentionally set on fire around 03:30 AM. As firefighters were responding to that blaze, another arson broke out a mile away. Local authorities are asking for the public’s help.

Think About it:

  • From the Pacific coast to the Atlantic and from Canada to Mexico -- stuff happens at churches.
  • In all denominations; Catholic, Protestant and “non-denominational” -- stuff happens at churches.
  • During services and during non-event times – from early morning hours until late at night and on any day of the week -- stuff happens at churches.
  • From deadly force incidents, to lesser crimes -- stuff happens at churches.
  • From intruders, occasional attendees, strangers and pastors themselves -- stuff happens at churches.
  • Whether a one-time spontaneous outburst or another crime in a series -- stuff happens at churches.

Sunday, May 5

Church safety concerns addressed in Richmond - Richmond, VA News

From: WWBT 12 News

The deadly Boston Marathon bombing is the reason everyone is working to step up security, including in places of worship.

Today, dozens of pastors and church leaders joined to learn more about making safety a top priority at a forum hosted by the Richmond Police Department.

The focus was on staying prepared and aware.

Roughly, 150 people from churches all around the Richmond Metro area showed up to see how much they can tighten security...

"People are hearing a lot about stabbings, shootings and bombings. There is a whole host of things people should be considering. We really want people to adopt the mindset of an all-hazards type of approach because there are a lot of things that could occur, " said Captain John Hall.

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Friday, May 3

Place of Worship Safety & Awareness Forum - Richmond, VA

Fort Worth Seminar Focuses on Church Safety

From: Star Telegram

FORT WORTH — Seven-year-old Gina Linam winked at her mother as she sat with a friend on the back pew at First Baptist Church in Daingerfield.

That would be the last gesture between Linam and her mother, Cheryl Hendrick, on the morning of June 22, 1980.

Thirty seconds later, Alvin Lee King III, 45, smashed through the back doors of the church and yelled, “This is war.”

In a hail of gunfire, Linam and four others were shot to death and several were wounded before King was subdued.

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