Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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October 4, 2013

Three alleged Church of Wells members asked to leave Lufkin ISD campus

• Lufkin ISD public information officer describes incident as "peaceful."

LUFKIN —    Three men tentatively identified as members of the Church of Wells were issued criminal trespass warnings late Thursday afternoon and asked to leave the campus of Lufkin High School, authorities confirmed Friday.

The three also will be banned from all Lufkin ISD school properties as a result of this incident, said LISD spokeswoman Sheila Adams.

Adams described the entire Thursday afternoon incident as “very peaceful.”

“It was after school,” Adams said. “They came in to our parking lot and from what I understand one of our employees recognized them. From there, they were asked to leave and were going to —  but we went ahead and called the police to issue them trespassing warnings.

“From what I understand they were there for the purpose of proselytizing. They had their bibles with them and were addressing the students who were leaving.”

The church is often known to proselytize — or attempt to attract others to their faith. Church of Wells members travel to campuses such as Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches to proselytize.

However, members normally take legal measures to protect their presence on a campus. For instance, Church of Wells Elder Sean Morris has said parishioners enroll for one class on the SFA campus so they have the legal right to be there when they preach.

A Friday afternoon call to Morris was not immediately returned.

Adams emphasized several times that the entire incident on the Lufkin ISD campus was “peaceful” from start to finish.

The Lufkin ISD has its own police department that covers all its 15 campuses, but the Lufkin Police Department was asked to intervene in this matter, authorities said.

Lufkin Police Det. J.B. Smith, the department's public information officer said his department got the call shortly after 4:50 p.m. that these three men were approaching people outside the school.

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