More than a year has passed and finally worshipers of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs are beginning to find some semblance of what once was normal.
But like what often happens when tragedies strike that are as horrific as what happened on Nov. 7, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, the congregation and community will have to adjust to a new normal.
That new normal comes with a new sanctuary where prayers will be uttered, sermons delivered and faith renewed. Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his flock received help from a group of the Southern Baptist Convention as well as business owners from across the country to erect the new, twice as large, $3 million FBC Sutherland Springs Church.
The congregation and church leaders unveiled the new church Sunday during a private church service and a public memorial dedicating the new church.
The somber day was marked by a tolling of the church bell, one gong heard as each name of the 26 victims killed in the massacre was read. The shooting spree that killed men, women and children inside the church forever changed Sutherland Springs.
Part of FBC’s new normal will be the presence of a safety response team on hand to help protect church-goers from a long list of possible situations such as a child choking on food to something more horrific, Pomeroy said,
The changes were necessary but they, nor the tragedy, define the people of Sutherland Springs, who insist that ‘evil did not win’ the day Devin Patrick Kelley shot up their church. And they have resolved that evil will never win.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott attended Sunday’s events and helped put the world on notice that the town and church have new normals and did not fall to the gunman’s wickedness.
“As people drive through Sutherland Springs in the future, they will know this is a place where goodness triumphed over evil,” Abbott said.