By Carol Pipes
Almost five months after a gunman killed 26 people at First Baptist Church Sutherland Springs, Texas, the church announced plans for a new building, reports The Dallas Morning News.
The new facility will include a worship center seating 250 people and education space. A memorial to the 26 people who lost their lives in the attack will be located in space between the worship center and the education facility.
“We are in the midst of a celebration week. This is the week leading up to Easter,” Pastor Frank Pomeroy said at a news conference Tuesday (March 27). “And what better way to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord than the resurrection of a new church?”
FBC Sutherland Springs was the site of one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
Pomeroy said the new facilities will put the church in an even better position to serve others, according to Baptist Press.
“Our primary goal is to lift up Jesus in our community,” Pomeroy said. “Sutherland Springs has a certain distinction because of the enormity of the tragedy that took place at our church, but every community is touched by tragedy. Every family and every person has hurts and sorrows. We want to be a lighthouse. The light of the gospel shines hope, even in the deepest darkness.”
The Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board (NAMB) will accept donations for the project. If donations do not cover all of the construction expenses, NAMB will cover any remaining costs.
“We are grateful to play a small part in the healing journey for our brothers and sisters in Sutherland Springs,” said NAMB President Kevin Ezell.
Groups, organizations, and individuals wanting to donate to the project can visit NAMB.net and click “Give.” The link will take them to a special area for giving to the Sutherland Springs building effort. Donations of services and materials can be given through the website
The groundbreaking is scheduled for May 5, the six-month anniversary of the shooting, reported The Dallas Morning News. Construction is anticipated to be complete in spring 2019.
On Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, Devin P. Kelley walked into the sanctuary at Sutherland Springs and opened fire during the Sunday morning worship service. He killed 26 people, including the Pomeroys’ 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle.
“God is going to use the blood of those 26 martyrs and those survivors to bring forth revival into the land,” Pomeroy told The Dallas Morning News. “Any time the church was persecuted, then God backed that up with a magnification or a multiplication of his people.”
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- How to Develop a Church Safety Plan
CAROL PIPES (@CarolPipes) is editor in chief of Facts & Trends.