LINKS
2017-11-08 / Featured

LOVE CONQUERS HATE

Uniting in shared grief
By Nannette Kilbey-Smith
Wilson County News


A community in shock gathers at the intersection of U.S. 87 and F.M. 539 in Sutherland Springs Sunday night Nov. 5 at a candlelight vigil. The participants mourned those killed and prayed for the wounded and grieving, after a gunman opened fire that morning on unsuspecting church-goers at the First Baptist Church nearby. 
GREGORY RIPPS/Reprints at bit.ly/wcnphotos A community in shock gathers at the intersection of U.S. 87 and F.M. 539 in Sutherland Springs Sunday night Nov. 5 at a candlelight vigil. The participants mourned those killed and prayed for the wounded and grieving, after a gunman opened fire that morning on unsuspecting church-goers at the First Baptist Church nearby. GREGORY RIPPS/Reprints at bit.ly/wcnphotos A candlelight vigil for victims materialized by the post office in Sutherland Springs Sunday night. Community members sang and embraced, seeking solace in each other’s company, the emotional toll of the day’s horrific events welling up into tears as they waited for news from the First Baptist Church two blocks away.

This was mirrored in the Stockdale Church of Christ, where sobs intermingled with prayers.

“This isn’t the time to ‘be strong’ for others,” one participant said. “This is the time to mourn with others; the time to be strong will come.”

Prayers were offered not only for the victims and their families, but for first responders, who “faithfully perform their duties … No one should ever have to see what they have seen.”

Community members united in prayer at Grace Bible Church in La Vernia Sunday night, too.

Students gathered before classes at La Vernia High School Monday morning, for prayer and mutual support. Together, they sang “Amazing Grace,” shared Scriptures, and prayed. Their unity brought comfort, as they heard later that day that one of the casualties in Sutherland Springs was their fellow student, ninth-grader Hailey Krueger, and that three more La Vernia students were wounded.

Grief counselors were on hand Monday at campuses in Floresville, Stockdale, and La Vernia to help students, staff, and families cope with the tragedy. These remain available; families can contact their relevant school administrators to access the help.

A second vigil took place Monday night in Sutherland Springs, and another was set for Tuesday in La Vernia.

A community-wide service will take place Wednesday in Floresville, also.

nkilbey-smith@wcn-online.com

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