SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas – The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs welcomed hundreds of people into their new worship center Sunday morning.
- Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn attended
- Names were remembered by tolling of bell in its new tower
- Church was built solely by donors
Pastor Frank Pomeroy led the ceremony, introducing several guest speakers, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn.
The names and ages of each victim were read off while family and friends stood in remembrance. The old bell tolled in its new tower for each.
Karla Holcombe, a victim who had prayed for the plot of land to be given to the church so they could build, was also recognized during the ceremony. The building and land are now referred to as “Karla’s Corner.”
Pomeroy and others expressed gratitude to their donors that helped them pay for it. Not one penny came out of the church’s budget.
The North American Mission Board and churches part of the Southern Baptist Convention helped make it all possible. Even the bell that rang in the old church was moved and refurnished for free by a local company.
Abbott referred to the building as a “remarkable church” and highlighted its symbolism.
“This is a tangible sign as people drive through Sutherland Springs in the future. They will know that this is a place where goodness triumphed over evil,” Abbott said.
During the ceremony, a video message was played from Sen. Ted Cruz, sending strong support and prayer.
Sen. John Cornyn also said a few words, reflecting on the day of the shooting and how the congregation had grown in numbers since then.
Attendees were encouraged to explore the new education building and join in a large reception following the ceremony.