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Abduction makes church secretary more cautious

'Always keep doors locked, and make friends with the police,' she advises.

Carolyn Kellam, office manager for the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ in Tucson, Ariz., keeps pepper spray handy and pays special attention to strangers.

“During the week, Carolyn has a video feed of the entry door and can buzz people in or choose to go to the door to get a better look,” minister Andrew Hill said.


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Eight tips for making churches safer In 2008, a clean-cut man abducted Kellam from her previous ministry with the Ina Road Church of Christ in Tucson.

“He pulled out a gun and told me to get in my car and get money from an ATM,” Kellam said. “I did, and then he made me get on Interstate 10 heading west. I was terrified but remembered some advice: ‘Talk to him.’ So I did.

“As we were leaving Tucson, I asked him if he would let me go,” she said. “He made me drive a mile off I-10, took my phone and wallet and drove off in my car.”

That experience influences her approach to strangers.

“Not long ago, a man kept banging on the church door and windows,” Kellam said. “I didn’t hesitate to call the police. And I ask for the same repairmen to come to the building when needed. I have a plumber that is assigned to us.”

Her advice to fellow church secretaries and staffs?

“Police will send out an officer to give advice and show you where you are most vulnerable,” she said. “Always keep doors locked, and make friends with the police. They regularly drive through our parking lot.”

Filed under: National

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