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Coachella Valley church leaders react to Texas church shooting

“It’s unfortunate that in a place of worship that some people have to come in fear,” said Pastor Kephyan Sheppard, of the Word of Life Fellowship Center in Desert Hot Springs.

Local religious leaders react to Sunday’s mass shooting inside of a church in a small Texas town, the incident that killed 26 people, shocking, but not completely unforeseen.

“Last year I went to a training on helping churches be safer in an active shooter event,” said Father Andrew Green, of St. Paul in the Desert located in Palm Springs.

Father Green says such incidents puzzle church leaders.

“At the heart of it, these types of activities really challenge churches. How do you become a fortress and really welcome people, including those who have problems, without constantly being worried are we welcoming the right people,” Green said.

Green says he has an effective evacuation plan in case of a natural disaster, or something more sinister.

Pastor Sheppard says the same goes for him.

“As far as our security, we’re being vigilant. We have a great group of men that are watching the parking lot for any suspicious activity,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard said he plans to have his church leaders enroll in emergency preparedness classes.

Green said a group of local pastors are considering getting together to talk about what they can do together to keep their congregations safe.

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