UPDATE May 8, 2018
Workers broke ground for Sutherland Spring’s new worship center on May 5, 2018—six months after the tragedy that rocked the community.
The day started with a prayer walk to honor the victims of the tragedy. The church’s new sanctuary will go up adjacent to the original one, which has been dedicated as a memorial to the people who lost their lives. The new sanctuary will seat 250 people and have a bell tower, a light tower and several windows.
Five months after the mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, that killed 26 and injured 20, the church announces it will begin rebuilding in May, 2018, with a completion date in 2019.
First Baptist Sutherland Springs Unveils Plans
The Southern Baptist North American Mission Board (NAMB) has partnered with the Birmingham, Alabama-based Myrick Gurosky and Associates for the development, design and construction of the FBC Sutherland Springs Project. Myrick Gurosky and Associates (MGA) has donated all of their time and services to the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church Project.
According to the MGA website: “Phase 1 includes a new worship center, education building and commons facility. The planned worship center features an exterior of stone and glass. Two towers on the corners of the building will emanate glowing light. Inside, the worship center will feature seating for 250 people. A memorial to the 26 people who lost their lives in the attack will be located in a space adjacent to the worship center and commons. The education building is designed to host classrooms for attendees age infant through adult. Outside, a lighted, paved parking lot will also be included.”
The design has taken security into account, but the church, for obvious reasons, isn’t releasing those details.
First Baptist Sutherland Springs’ Renewal
The Dallas News reported that the memorial tower will feature a bell from the original First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, which for now will remain standing next to the new church as a memorial to those who died.
“We are in the midst of a celebration week. This is the week leading up to Easter,” Pastor Frank Pomeroy said. “And what better way to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord than the resurrection of a new church?” Pomeroy added his congregation has more than doubled and baptisms have “increased exponentially” since the shooting.
“God is going to use the blood of those 26 martyrs and those survivors to bring forth revival into the land,” Pomeroy said. “Any time the church was persecuted, then God backed that up with a magnification or a multiplication of his people.”
The RestoreSutherlandSprings.com website exists to report about the progress of the project and invite individuals and corporations to donate toward the efforts.
From the Ashes
One week after the deadliest mass shooting in church history, First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs reopened to the public.
Bob Ditmer reported on churchleaders.com:
But its appearance was decidedly different than when a lone gunman entered the house of worship and sprayed the congregants with more than 450 bullets, killing 26.
Gone were the pews, replaced by 26 white chairs marking the locations where worshippers died. Each chair had a name inscribed on the backrest; and on the seat, a red rose.
Blood was scrubbed from the floor, walls and ceiling, and the surfaces whitewashed; a fitting metaphor for Christ’s sacrificial death on a cross and its effect on the heart of each believer.
An audio recording of Scripture readings by church staff played on a loudspeaker.
Watch the full press conference about rebuilding First Baptist Church Sutherland Springs.