Local Church Talks Safety

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A New Middletown Church changed things up with an non-traditional Mother’s Day message: How to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to dealing with dangerous situations.

On Sunday, it was the usual start of Sunday Mass at St. Paul’s in New Middletown. However, the message didn’t come from the  scriptures, but instead it came from Sgt. Ken Goist, a New Middletown police officer who spoke about safety and ALICE training.

“ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate,” Goist said.

While church is a safe haven for many, they are not immune to crime. This past Easter, 28-year-old Reshad Riddle shot and killed his father, 52-year-old Richard Riddle when he was leaving an Ashtabula church.

Fr. Popovich asked Goist to talk to church members and figured Mother’s Day weekend was timely. He said in some ways the church is like a mother to the community.

“So it’s kind of nice in church to do this, to talk about the care and concern we can have for others especially in certain circumstances that might come up,” said Father Popovich.

Goist gave parishioners the basics on the program and challenged everybody to say something nice to another person.

“Because sometimes that might change the event that might be ready to occur,” said Goist.

It may have not been exactly the message some parishioners expected to hear at mass, but they said they’re glad they heard it, and it’s good information.

“I thought it was excellent,” said Linda Evan of New Middletown.

Evan said the point about being kind to others is important and is something she instilled in her four daughters.

“Every building we went into, our motto was let’s make this a better place for our having been here,” said Evan.

“Respect is so important, you know just that basic communication everyday and how you know those little things make a big difference,” added Karen Datillo, also of New Middletown.

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