Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A tragic event, like the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, isn't new to the Palmetto State. Two years ago, nine people were killed at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
That led to measures being taken across the state, including safety in a place of worship.
George Ashford, the pastor with Journey United Methodist Church, understands that some people may not feel safe while attending church, but he's hoping to change that.
There are armed Richland County deputies on site, and staff and volunteers with the church undergo training at least once a month to review procedures and protocols. Pastor Ashford said they talk about what suspicious people look like and not taking anything for granted.
"Thinking about what happens, God forbid, if the worst does happen. What steps do you take and making sure everyone is up for speed with that information," said Ashford.
Pastor Ashford said he believes their safety measures give members some comfort, but said there's a cautious optimism they're walking in right now.
He said he recommends that other churches take extra efforts to ensure safety.