Sutherland Springs church dedicates new building 18 months after massacre

On the morning of Sunday, November 5, 2017, worshippers gathered at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, a small town of about 500 people. During the service, a 26 year old gunmen came into the sanctuary and began shooting. 26 people died, 20 others were injured.

This weekend, the congregation dedicated a new church, next to the former building where the assure occurred. During the service, the names of the victims and their ages were read aloud as a bell tolled. The bell comes from the original building, and the bell tower of the new church is now the tallest building in Sutherland Springs. First Baptist Pastor Frank Pomeroy said, “It will be a beacon on a hill that people can look to wherever they’re at and be reminded about what God’s done here,” he said. “It’s not about the building. It’s about the provisions of God and what he’s done for us over this last 18 months.”

Gunny Macias was shot five times in the 2017 attack. He was in attendance yesterday. Macias said, “I see glory that God prevailed,” he said. “It was a dark dark day but God shined his light, and life grew.”

State politicians and local leaders were on hand. Texas governor Greg Abbott said, “renewal and resilience today in Sutherland Springs, Texas where church opens new sanctuary 18 months after massacre of 18 worshippers. The people of Sutherland Springs have hope and strength that flows from faith in God.”

The new church has many security measures and has trained its own emergency response team.

There are monsters in the world who can rob people of their lives. But they will never take away the human spirit. May the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs continue to shine the light of the gospel to the community, the nation, and the world.

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Josh Benner  has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has served churches in Minnesota and Illinois. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in St. Louis.