A week after a gunman killed 25 people and an unborn child, the church where the deadly shooting took place is ready to re-open its doors today, this time as a memorial.
The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs announced that it will be inviting the public and the media to the memorial to honor the casualties of the senseless shooting. The church also said that it “had undertaken several projects to help the healing process for the families and the community”. The church’s sanctuary will also be restored.
In a statement, the church also said that their efforts to transform the location of the “unspeakable event” into a beautiful memorial that “celebrates and pays tribute to the lives lost” were made possible by the generous volunteer efforts and offers from individuals of various fields of expertise.”
The sanctuary will be open to the public from Monday through Friday. The church will also hold its first Sunday service since the shooting over the weekend, to be conducted at a community center next door. Frank Pomeroy, the First Baptist’s pastor will speak at the service.
It is not clear yet whether the church will decide to make the sanctuary a permanent installment. The spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention Roger Oldham also said earlier this week that it has to be a collective decision before the church makes a move to tear down the church.
Previous locations of deadly mass shootings have decided in varied ways on how to move forward following their respective tragedies. Sandy Hook Elementary School where 20 children and six school staff were killed by a gunman decided to tear down the structure and replaced by a new school.
The Pulse nightclub located in Orlando was supposed to be torn down as well, but the owner later changed his mind and decided to turn it into a memorial.
The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church located I Charleston, South Carolina where nine of its parishioners were killed reopened mere days after the racially-motivated attack.