Metro ministers meet to discuss ways to keep local churches safe

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. --  In response to the church shootings in South Carolina, ministers of different faiths spent Friday talking about how best to make their places of worship safer.

Churches are supposed to be places where strangers are welcomed. Leaders told FOX 4 they don't want that concept to change, but the senseless deaths of nine people in a Charleston, S.C., church has them rethinking their plans so they don’t have to live in fear.

Religious leaders say people need to reach out more to others and make sure communication is done in a civil way, with respect for different opinions.

More and more church leaders say they are involved in trauma training and mental health counseling, so they can help clean up a culture of violence.

"This is unfortunate, but as a result of this, people will be more inclined to engage people, which is what we are taught to do anyway," said Minister Don Ousley of the Church of Christ. "We're taught to engage the stranger, to make a stranger into a friend."

Some tell FOX 4 the South Carolina shootings won't prompt ministers to lock their doors or shut out visitors. Instead, it reveals how important it is to greet those who walk in and learn how they can be helped.