The Rev. Steven Marsh never thought he would see the day his church in Laguna Woods, California — a town of 16,500 populated largely by retirees — would be spending $20,000 a month for security.
Then a gunman opened fire on May 15 during a luncheon at Geneva Presbyterian Church, where Marsh is senior pastor, killing one and injuring five other members of a Taiwanese congregation that met there. Officials said the man, who was motivated by political hatred against Taiwan, chained the church’s doors shut and hid firebombs inside before shooting at the gathering of elderly church members.
Houses of worship are meant to be places of shelter, reflection and peace, where strangers are welcome. But the recent string of high-profile mass shootings in the U.S. is a reminder violence can happen anywhere, prompting some faith leaders to ramp up security.