Investigators work at the scene of a deadly shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sunday Nov. 5, 2017. (AP)
Ministry rushes devotional books to first responders following shooting
NASHVILLE, Tenn.––The Strength for Service Corporation rushed a box (52 copies) of Strength for Service to God and Community for first responders and families following the killing of 26 worshippers at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. At least 20 other worshippers were injured in the November 5 shooting about 30 miles east of San Antonio.
The Rev. Peter Aguilar, pastor of Floresville UMC and a chaplain for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was the first chaplain on the scene. He said the first responders, “worked dilligence and attention while maintaining their humanity.” He said the small community of 400 had come together at the community center within an hour, bringing food, water, and support.
The Rev. Mike Clements, pastor of First Baptist Church in nearby Floresville, Texas, will distribute the books on behalf of the Strength for Service team.
"I think a lot of children died today. And they just wanted to go to church," Clements said. "These people are merciful people. A lot of them will be forgiving with what happened.”
Members of the Sutherland Springs church provide a Thursday meal and worship serice for the community. Members hope visitors will stay for worship, but they don’t have to.
"They don't have a lot of money, but they are always willing to give," said Clements.
Founded by the General Commission on UM Men, the Strength for Service Corporation frequently sends copies of Strength for Service to God and Community to first responders following tragedies in their communities.
The Steward Family Foundation provides the books. The foundation was started by David L. Steward, founder of World Wide Technology, a St. Louis-based company with 4,000 employees and an annual revenue of $9 billion.
Contributors to Strength for Service provide funds for shippping expenses. Please donate here.