First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs is Rising from the Ashes: Congregants Break Ground On New Building

A painted pew serves as a memorial at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church.
A painted pew serves as a memorial at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church.

Six months after a gunman entered their sanctuary, killed 26 members of their church, and injured 20 more, the surviving congregants of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, TX, have broken ground on a new building. 

In the aftermath of the shooting, church members have met in the fellowship hall for prayer, Bible study, and a dinner service. Joey Palacios of Texas Public Radio reports, “The original church still serves as a memorial. But since the shooting, congregants have worshipped in a temporary building, the walls of which are decorated with memorial art sent in from across the country.”

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new church included a prayer walk around the old building. Pat Duke, a member of First Baptist’s Restoration Committee, said, “Part of that is to commemorate and honor a lady named Karla that walked our property for years, praying that it would be given to the church. We want to make sure that it starts out right and before a single spade of shovels or dirt is moved that we started out with prayer.”

The new 250-seat worship center will sit next to the site of the original building where the tragic shooting took place.

Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who spoke this Thursday at the National Day of Prayer observance in Washington D.C., told KSAT 12 that the new church building will “represent new life. This is going to represent new growth. I believe that God is going to use the blood of those 26 martyrs and those survivors to bring forth revival into the land, [to] bring forth revival into Sutherland Springs, and I would say Wilson County and even into the state.”

–Gregory Leo