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Across the nation

From U-Wire
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 20, 1999

FORT WORTH, Texas Sitting on the steps of the Robert Carr Chapel, three students shared memories of their sorority sister who was slain in Wednesday night's Wedgwood Baptist Church massacre.

The memories they shared weren't distant. The women had been with Jones two nights ago at a Bible study she led.

Students gathered Thursday night in the chapel to remember Kim Jones and pray for her family and other victims of Wednesday evening's mass shooting.

For many people, the tragedy was not only an assault on humanity but also an assault on their beliefs.

Steve Martin, minister to college students and young adults at University Christian Church, said he feels vulnerable.

"I think a lot of us are asking, 'Are there any safe places anymore?'" he said.

And as the nation copes with another mass shooting, members of campus ministries and local churches and their leaders said they are struggling to make sense of the tragedy. They grieve for those involved and seek measures to prevent future rampages in the nation's churches.

Scott Colglazier, senior minister at UCC, said his church added a security guard Thursday morning outside its University Drive entrance to increase protection.

Other members of the religious community said they are also fearful and are now taking measures to ensure the safety of their church members and students.

James Stalnaker, director of college ministries at Christ Church, where several TCU students attend, said he and other members discussed security for their church Tuesday night.

Now Stalnaker and his church plan to have four or five police officers patrol the church's Friday night concert.

Other religious leaders within the TCU community said although they were shocked that the shooting occurred nearby, they still feel the same way about church.

"I am not threatened because a church is still a church," said Nathan Keller, a junior speech communication major and president of Campus Crusade for Christ.

Scott Munson, a master of business administration student and vice president of Brothers Under Christ, said he is not threatened because a church is a safe haven.

"People should not be afraid to go to church and worship," he said. "A church represents hope, and someone tried to ruin that, but you can't destroy hope completely."

Jenn Van Veldhuizen, a senior English, history and education major, said she feels awful for the families, but not fearful.

"The shootings have not affected my view of the sanctity of the church," she said. "I will feel safe at church this Sunday."

Yet several campus religious leaders said their nightmares came true, as they watched a violent tragedy hit close to home.

"I was concerned because there was a list of people directly involved in our ministry through the Wedgwood Church," said Toney Upton, director of Baptist Student Ministries. "I wanted to hang around and find out about those involved."

Munson agreed, saying he never imagined such a tragic event occurring in a church in his community.

"Honestly, the unimaginable became imaginable after last night," he said.

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