Sutherland Springs opens new chapter of worship

Throughout it all members of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs have stood strong. 

The once tiny place where a handful of worshippers kneeled side by side on pews is now dwarfed by a new building of worship big enough to house hundreds.

This new sanctuary comes on the heels of tragedy. On November 5, 2017 the faith of many people in the community would be tested when a gunman opened fire in the small church killing 26 people and injuring 20. 

Among those lost were children, some who hadn't even been born. 

It didn't take long for prayers to start being answered in the small community. 

On Sunday the Baptist Church dedicated its new center for worship and education. The sanctuary sits on a new plot of purchased land next to the original church.

A sermon was led by pastor and survivor Frank Pomeroy. 

"We've had support, global state and national,” said Pomeroy.

The service began with Pomeroy announcing the names of the victims who lost their lives, including the name of his own daughter. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also took a moment to reflect.

"Remembering those who taken from us. And we pray for the ongoing recovery of the victims who were injured both physically and mentally,” Abbott said.

The new facility will house a memorial tower honoring all 26 victims. Some items like the original church bell were kept, the familiar sound ensuring all is well. 

"And for that reason that bell means more now to me even than the previous,” Pomeroy said.

Members with the congregation say time will heal the hearts of the community, but say hope and faith have now been restored again in the small town of Sutherland Springs.