SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, TEXAS (ANS) — A year and a half after a massacre that claimed the lives of 26 people, First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs has opened its doors to a brand new sanctuary.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott was in attendance at Sunday’s emotional dedication service, during which the names of every victim were read a loud, according to Will Maule writing for Faithwire.
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Pastor Frank Pomeroy, whose 14-year-old daughter Annabelle was among those killed, declared that not only was this a time for celebration but should also serve as a moment to remember “those who have paid a price for this incredible facility.”
Gov. Abbott told those in attendance that the new building was a “tangible sign” of hope amid the darkness. “As people drive through Sutherland Springs in the future they will know that this is a place where goodness triumphed over evil,” he declared.
In addition to the new structure, the church site development also includes enhanced security measures so that its growing congregation feels safe during worship. “We don’t want to look like a fortress, but also wanted to make sure that everybody could feel safe on the inside,” Pomeroy explained.
“I have no doubt that God will continue to work through this community to write the next chapter for the remarkable and faithful people of Sutherland Springs” Abbott declared to a packed-out congregation. “That is why we do not gather in grief, but instead we gather in hope, and we join together to celebrate the new beginning of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.”
Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear also addressed the church, declaring that “the Christian story never ends with death, it ends with resurrection.”
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