Local ministers are offering their views on a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, which took place during Sunday morning worship services.

According to reports, at least 26 people ranging from the age of five to 72 were killed when a gunman entered the church and began shooting.

Maysville First Presbyterian Church Rev. Jim Dougans said he and his church members are praying for everyone in involved.

"It's a terrible tragedy," he said. "We'll be praying for everyone."

Dougans said he would tell any of his members, who might be concerned about something happening, to remember that God is protecting them.

"I would tell them this has grieved the heart of God, but his loving arms are around you," he said. "It's a puzzle and it's senseless. Pray for healing of anyone who would even consider violence, help them to seek counseling and healing."

Rev. Chad Current of Cross Point Community Church said his church is also praying for the victims and their families.

"Our thoughts and prayers go to the victims and families," he said. "This tragedy illustrates why the church is needed. There is a lot of broken and evilness in the world today. It's why we're here -- to reflect God's love."

He also said his church has policies in place in the event something similar happened.

"In our church, we have taken steps to make sure we're doing what we can to keep people safe in the event something would happen," he said. "We have a security team trained and policies to prepare us. We're being proactive. It's always a risk, but if we, as a people, allow these few to hold us hostage, we've made way to let them defeat us."

At Grace Baptist Church, Rev. Larry Manning said he has already met with members of his church and is working to put new policies in place for the protection of his congregation.

"We met and discussed this," he said. "We talked about several things and one of the things we plan to do, which will be announced at our church, is to consider locking the doors during service times. There's nothing you can do to really stop someone who is mentally ill and determined to do something like this, but it may slow them down. We're living in a time of evil. There's no shock from God's perspective. He has a purpose, even if we don't understand it."

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Manning briefly touched on the members who may have concealed carry licenses.

"We do have some members who have them," he said. "We're going to talk about it and make recommendations."

Rev. Bob Hudson with St. Luke's Anglican Church in Maysville said he is saddened by the event that occurred in Texas.

"My heart is heavy over the incident that took place there," he said. "Families were worshiping and praising God and visited with a senseless evil by, what appears to be, a solo individual. It just wiped out those lives and innocent people. It's a tragedy."

Hudson said his advice to anyone who may be concerned about something similar happening in the area would be to not live in fear.

"You can't be protected from all evil," he said. "The only way that would happen would be if you locked yourself in your home and never came out to fellowship with others. We can't let desperate acts keep us living in fear. As God's people, we are not fearful, we are hopeful."


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