Mon, 29 Apr 2013 20:21:20 GMT — COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Sunday services at Bibleway Church in Columbia attracts more than 4,000 people weekly. Calvin Jackson the chief operation officer at Bibleway works with a committee that is always working to improve protection for parishioners. More than 70 deacons, some in law enforcement, are keeping an eye on thousands of people and three Richland County Deputies are at all services. "We are very, very visible in what we do and we're very deliberate in what we do. Come and worship while at the same time those who are coming to worship and who are in positions of responsibility also come prepared to work as well," said Jackson. A report by the Christian Security Network showed in 2009, 1,237 crimes were committed against churches and ministries. They included 12 murders, 98 arsons and more than 500 burglaries. Jackson says he just wants to make sure people can worship however they want and be kept safe while in the chapel. "We don't ever want to become a place that is so rigid that it prevents people from a freedom of expression. If they want to run down to the alter and drop on there knees we want them to be able to do that without people surrounding them and fearing there going to do something out of the ordinary. Are we watching and paying attention of course we are," adds Jackson. Jackson says they've recently examined and improved their evacuation plan and are always looking for ways to keep the church safer seven day a week. Jackson says he never imagined a time where officers or high level security would be required for worship.
"Society has created unfortunately a culture and environment where the stress that is imposed upon on so many people outside of the church sometimes finds it way into the church," said Jackson.