The site of the worst mass shooting in Texas history will become a memorial. The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs will open its doors to the public on Sunday, one week after 26 people in the congregation were killed inside.
“This is our church, but it is not just us that are suffering,” said the church’s Associate Pastor Mark Collins in a statement. “This tragedy has rocked our nation, and has had an impact on all Americans and our country as a whole. It is our hope that this will be healing for everyone.”
Throughout the week, residents in Sutherland Springs and the Baptist Church community have worked to restore the church sanctuary. Workers could be seen covering bullet holes, repainting the exterior and cleaning the interior. The church is now a memorial to the victims, who include an unborn child, a one-year-old, and eight members of the Holcombe family.
The church is asking anyone who visits to respect the sanctity of the church, the memory of those who died, and the family and community members who are still trying to heal.
The public will be allowed to enter for the first time Sunday at 5 p.m. and the memorial will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Last week's' shooting happened during the weekly 11 a.m. morning worship service. The regularly scheduled 11 a.m. morning worship at the church, will be held at the community center down the street Sunday morning.