Local church reviewing security plan after Texas massacre

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A Winston-Salem church is taking a closer look at its security measures after the shooting in Texas.

”This is the most vulnerable hour when people come together and worship,” said Father Steve Rice at St. Timothy Episcopal Church. “They are not looking over their shoulder to see who is going to come in and threaten their lives or take it.”

Rice said he was shocked, but not surprised when a gunman opened fire on a church in Texas.

”We live in this time where people prey on the vulnerable,” Rice said. ”Churches are soft targets.”

Rice sent out an email to his parishioners saying that from now on an officer would be inside the sanctuary during Sunday services. Two years ago, an officer was brought out to monitor the parking lot. After the Las Vegas shooting, they were invited inside the doorway.

“We want to be open and not be afraid, but take the precautions,” Rice said.

Rice also plans to contact the Winston-Salem Police Department to see if anything else can be done to keep the church safe.

“They look at the world with a different lens and they see things that we could do, small things we could do to make our campus more secure,” Rice said.

“I feel safe here, but I'm glad and I'm grateful that thought is being given to our safety and some awareness,” said Lea Thullbery, a parishioner. ”Whether I'm inside these walls or outside these walls, this is part of my family. This facility is a big part of my life.”

Winston-Salem police told FOX8 at least one other church contacted them today to get advice on how to better protect their places of worship.