The Sutherland Spring, Texas, church where 26 people were murdered will hold Sunday service one week after the attack.
A white tent is being erected on a baseball field not far from the First Baptist Church of Sutherland site. The tent will be the temporary home for the congregants, KSAT reported.
Nearly fifty people were shot during a church service than normally sees around that many in attendance. The new tent church will host up to 1,000 people. People are expected to travel from across the state and nation to show support for the survivors and the community.
Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife were not in attendence last Sunday, having traveled to Oklahoma. Their 14-year-old daughter lost her life when the gunman entered the church and began the massacre that left 26 people dead, including young children.
Pomeroy said he wants to tear down the church and create a memorial site to honor those who were killed, CBS News reported. He said the building would be “too stark of a reminder.”
The mother of 16-year-old Haley Krueger agreed. “There should still be church but not here,” Charlene Uhl told the CBS reporter.
The initial service following the massacre will be a private service for members of the community, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Officials from the church explained the first service will only be open to the remaining congregants, members of the community, and people from neighboring areas.
On Saturday, the church offered a Veterans Day observance service to honor the church victims with a military background.
Rod Green, who serves as the grounds steward for the church, told reporters they church building will temporarily serve as a memorial to the victims of the mass shooting. Plans call for cleaning up the building and replacing the pews with one chair for each of the victims killed in the attack.
Funerals for those killed began late last week as nearly 500 people attended the service for Scott and Karen Marshall. The two military veterans were honored at a San Antonio Air Force base.
Eleven people will not be able to attend Sunday’s service because they remain hospitalized.