Texas town holds 1st Sun­day ser­vice since church at­tack

West Hawaii Today - - Nation & World - From wire sources

SUTHER­LAND SPRINGS, Texas — Hun­dreds of mourn­ers crowded into the tiny town of Suther­land Springs for the first Sun­day ser­vice since a gun­man stormed the First Bap­tist Church a week ear­lier, killing more than two dozen peo­ple in the worst mass shoot­ing in Texas his­tory.

Af­ter an emo­tional ser­mon held out­doors un­der a mas­sive white tent, con­gre­gants and the pub­lic were in­vited to re­turn to the church for the first time since the tragedy. A chill­ing me­mo­rial set up in­side the church in­cluded 26 white chairs — in­clud­ing one for the un­born baby of a vic­tim who was preg­nant — bear­ing each vic­tim’s name or nick­name painted in gold.

Pas­tor Frank Pomeroy shared his per­sonal heartache and a mes­sage that the com­mu­nity bound to­gether by faith can move past the evil that at­tacked the church seven days ear­lier.

“Rather than choose dark­ness as that young man did that day, we choose life,” Pomeroy said dur­ing the ser­vice, his voice crack­ing as he spoke about his 14-year- old daugh­ter, Annabelle, who was among those killed in the Nov. 5 ram­page.

“I know ev­ery­one who gave their life that day,” he said, paus­ing to gather him­self. “Some of whom were my best friends and my daugh­ter.” He wiped his eyes, then added, “I guar­an­tee they are danc­ing with Je­sus to­day.”

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