A church in Georgetown held a service specifically for law enforcement officers and their families Sunday afternoon.
Celebration Church said they planned the service so that officers in the Austin area could come together and support each other. This is the first time Celebration Church has held a Blue Mass service specifically for law enforcement officers.
For 90 minutes, police had the chance to pray, sing and worship together and speakers got to share their admiration of the sacrifices the men and women in blue make every day. “This is really just a small thing for us to do, to host this, but it makes a statement to these men and women that we support, them we believe in them and are thankful for them,” said Celebration Church Executive Pastor Jim Kuykendall.
Times are tough for law enforcement officers all across the country.
“We are talking to more officers as chaplains than we ever have before. Because they're looking for solace, they're looking for peace and they're actually looking for resources for their families to where they can breathe again and enjoy life,” said University of Texas Police Department Chaplain Ricky Poe.
With the fear of ambush style attacks like the one in Dallas that left five officers dead, pastors at Celebration Church decided it was time to team up with local law enforcement agencies to host a church service for the men and women in blue.
“We as a church believe in these men and women that put their lives on the line and they're not perfect, they make mistakes, and we all make mistakes, but we want them to know that even in that, we appreciate their sacrifice that they make every day,” said Kuykendall.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he is hoping to pass legislation to increase support for first responders and their family members, but, in the meantime, Patrick wants the law enforcement community to know he cares.
“They're the best of the best. Our police officers, men and women, are the best of the best and very few people would do what they do,” said Patrick.
Poe says the idea for a special service came from one of the officers he works with.
“It was actually a police officer that came to me and he said, ‘Ricky, we used to do services like this in Chicago. Is there any way you could have a service just for police officers?’” Poe said.
Once the Celebration Church was on board, a congregation of all ranks of law enforcement officers formed.
“They work long shifts, long hours, so they don't have a lot of time to come together with their families, come together and realize we're in this together and so I think things like this are great,” said Patrick.
“I mean, because of what we're seeing, the police officers, they're human, their families are human, this gives them great strength from what they're telling me. ‘Hey, we appreciate you doing something positive for us. Something that we can come and enjoy.” Because they work really hard for you and I to protect us,” Poe said.
Celebration Church said they do not have another Blue Mass service scheduled at this time, but they are hopeful to continue to host them. In the meantime, they have small groups of officers who meet at the church on a regular basis.