First service in new sanctuary eighteen months after massacre in Texas
A small Texas church that garnered national headlines in 2017 when a shooter opened fire on the congregation officially opened their new sanctuary. First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs held their first services on Sunday at their new worship facility, with elected officials including Governor Greg Abbott delivering some words.
“This is a tangible sign as people drive through Sutherland Springs in the future they will know that this is a place where good triumphed over evil,” stated Gov. Abbott, as reported by the Associated Press.
There were two services on Sunday: a 9:00 AM service centred on thanking God for “the provision of the building and land” and an 11:00 AM service meant to “honour the victims, victims’ families, survivors, donors, and the community of Sutherland Springs,” according to a post on the church’s Facebook page.
Pastor Frank Pomeroy, the leader of the church whose fourteen-year-old daughter was among the murdered, explained to the Associated Press that the church now had a “safety response team” as part of their increased security.
In November of 2017, Devin Patrick Kelley, who was discharged from the U.S. Air Force after being convicted of assault and serving one year in a military prison, entered FBC Sutherland Springs during Sunday worship and opened fire, killing twenty-six people.
Authorities concluded that, although he had a history of anti-religious social media posts, Kelley’s primary motive was because his ex-wife had family who attended the church.