Church security in Northeast Mississippi strikes balance

| February 18, 2013

To gain entrance to the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Tupelo, visitors must approach the door beside the chapel.

There they will find a brushed steel call box, mounted with a speaker and a video, that may look out of place against the church’s castle-like architecture. Through the call box, the visitor is able to call the church office to disengage the electronic lock and allow them inside.

“We want to keep the church safe, the same way as a household,” said Carson Overstreet, assistant pastor for young adults and outreach at First Presbyterian.

Being a downtown church, First Presbyterian sees more foot traffic than rural churches or churches found in tight-knit communities. While this allows for effective methods of outreach, it also exposes the church to the dangers of the real world.

Overstreet said it was important for the church not to project fear, but the church has an obligation to keep its congregation safe, especially children who attend the church’s preschool. Speaking to the financial side of the church, thefts and repairs ultimately come out of the congregation’s pocket in the form of their tithes.

Read more: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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