BALTIMORE (WJZ)– What’s supposed to be a sacred and safe place where loved ones and strangers come together might never feel the same.
The frightening reality hits harder now than ever after Sunday’s church shooting in Texas left 26 people dead.
Before that, it was Dylan Roof who walked into a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina and killed nine black parishioners.
Baltimore is now preparing for what was once the unimaginable.
“It is a major wake up call,” said Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway Sr. of Union Baptist Church in West Baltimore. “It has prompted us to say we need to call in professionals and help us identify and blank spots or vulnerability spots.”
Hathaway engaged with other religious leaders about what can be done.
[REPORTER: How do you stop that person for a moment who might be deranged?]
“I don’t believe we can do that, but I do believe we can create that atmosphere that prayerfully that person finds himself and says ‘this is not the place I want to enter in,'” Hathaway said.
“We have to constantly be vigilant and help try and prepare our people how to prevent it and respond if something like that were to happen,” said Sean Caine with the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Caine says churches are often strapped financially and oppose a unique challenge unlike schools, especially for a place that’s known for leaving its doors open.
“That inherently takes on a risk for people who want to feel safe and want to know people next to them,” he said.
He adds that it’s impossible to guarantee the safety of everyone at all times.
“We’re looking at every feasible and realistic option available, at the end of the day it comes down to vigilance,” Caine said “We want people to feel safe when they come, church doors are meant to be welcoming, to everybody, including strangers we’ve never seen before, that takes on a risk for people who want be safeguards.”