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Preparing for the worst: Active shooter training attracts church leaders and congregants

The training sessions was free and open to the public.

WASHINGTON -- More than 100 people gathered in a Southeast, D.C. church Saturday morning. But, rather than a church service, people were there to attend an active shooter training.

“We are in a space and place and time where, unfortunately, we’re not even safe in our church houses,” said Pastor Zina Pierre of Bethel Restoration Church in Lake Arbor, Maryland.

Pierre is one of several pastors who visited Temple of Praise with members of their congregation for the active shooter training workshop. Temple of Praise on Southern Avenue in Southeast hosted the session, which was led by Serve DC. Serve DC is an agency through Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office that provides free training on several situations.

Temple of Praise’s senior pastor Bishop Glen Staples said the recent mass shootings are what motivated to plan the training in the last two weeks.

RELATED: Permanent security needed at synagogues, say DC faith leaders

“We felt we needed to do something to protect the people,” Staples explained.

The training session was free and open to the public. Pastor Orin Perry of the House of Mandate traveled from Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina with nine members of his congregation to attend.

“I never thought we would have to do this,” said Perry.

Some of the topics discussed Saturday included pre-attack indicators and suspicious behavior, first aid education and developing a strong security plan.

Pastors and security staff at the training said they will take what they learned back to their home churches for further training and discussion.

You can find more information about Serve DC by clicking here.