The massacre at the Sutherland Springs church Sunday has sparked a debate among the faithful about whether or not to allow guns during service. For one South Texas pastor, there’s no question.
“What happened in Sutherland will never happen at our church,” said Christian pastor Jaime Chapa, sitting in his living room recovering from a knee surgery.
Chapa’s faith in guns is as unwavering as it is in god.
“There will be 3 armed persons at all times at every service,” he promised.
Chapa’s congregation at El Faro Bible Church in Sullivan City, Texas is similar in size to the one in Sutherland Springs, where 26 people died Sunday at the hands of shooter Devin Patrick Kelly.
When the pastor saw the news, he vowed to do what others would consider against Christian teachings.
“They’ll bring bible verses like ‘vengeance is mine, saith the lord’ and ‘thou shalt not kill,’” recalled Chapa. “But we need to remember that Michael was a warrior angel, Gabriel was a messenger angel, but God had his soldiers.”
Next to El Faro church, fellow Christian Kenneth Lockhead volunteers helping to restore an old gym. Lockhead isn’t a gun owner but welcomes the pastor’s decision.
“I just wish that there was somebody there that could’ve stopped him,” said Lockhead referring to the Sutherland Springs shooter.
Lockhead, a Canadian native, no longer feels comfortable knowing violence could happen anywhere, at any time.
“We need to be able to protect ourselves and others,” said Lockhead. “If that means carrying a gun, then that’s what is going to take, I believe.”
As a Vietnam veteran, Chapa fought to defend his country.
“Our members have a right when they come to worship. They have a right to be safe.”
As the leader of his church, Chapa will be carrying a gun, to defend his members.
The El Faro Bible Church is not the only church allowing members to carry a weapon. There a number of other congregations along the Texas-Mexico border that already have a policy, or would be open to the idea, of members carrying guns.