Going to church early to polish the Sunday morning message should be a time of peace and reflection for any pastor.
That image was shattered last Sunday in the small town of Anadarko, Oklahoma, when 61-year-old Carol Daniels was brutally murdered at the church where she preached.
Daniels lived in Oklahoma City but conducted services at the small church and has been lauded for her service to the community of about 6,600 residents.
The church is located just a half-block from the Anadarko Police Department.
Local law enforcement officials held a closed-door meeting with pastors Wednesday and urged them to beef up basic security measures. A story in today’s edition of The Oklahoman reveals Daniels’ body was staged inside the church in the aftermath of multiple fatal stabs.
Church security has been an unfortunate hot topic this year, beginning with the murder of suburban St. Louis pastor Fred Winters during a March 8th sermon.
Prayers should be offered to Daniels, her family and investigators for the resolution of this terrible tragedy.
As I’ve written before, churches need to remain open and welcoming for believers and seekers, members and visitors alike. Daniels’ death is a grim reminder that even clergy with the best intentions can fall victim to the random violence that knows no bounds for location or profession.