WATCH: Texas Church Reopens as Moving Memorial to Shooting Victims
The only furniture inside are 26 white folding chairs with the name of each victim written in gold script.
On Sunday, surviving congregants of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs returned for the first time since the tragic shooting that claimed the lives of 26 of their fellow parishioners last week.
From floor to ceiling, the interior of the small church has been painted a bright white. The only furniture inside are 26 white folding chairs with the name of each victim written in gold script. There’s even a chair for "Baby Holcombe," the unborn child of Crystal Holcombe, who was eight months pregnant. A single rose sits on each chair, a solemn reminder of the unspeakable horror that happened there.
Outside, the church's pastor, Frank Pomeroy, whose 14-year-old daughter was killed in the attack, led the congregation in prayer. "I guarantee they are dancing with Jesus today," he said.
"I say we choose light,” Pomeroy continued. “Not the darkness that the gunman did.
Last week church officials announced plans to demolish the building. For now, it will remain open five days a week as a memorial, NBC News reports.
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“This is our church, but it is not just us that are suffering,” Associate Pastor Mark Collins said 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."