'It Is Well With My Soul': Tennessee church holds emotional first service since shooting left one dead
The Tennessee church where one woman was killed and seven others wounded during a shooting on Sunday held its first service since the incident last night, with an emotional rendition of the hymn It Is Well With My Soul.
With preparations taking place for tomorrow's funeral for the victim, Melanie Crow, and five congregants remaining in hospital including the church's minister Joey Spann, the faithful flooded into the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ for its usual Wednesday evening service.
'We want to claim the promise that if you're for us, no one can be against us,' prayed Scott Sages, Lipscomb University's Vice President for church services, simultaneously quoting scripture, according to USA Today.
'You, who did not spare your own son, but sent him into the world.'
Sages continued: 'We confess that the words of Jesus, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?" have been words we've spoken over the last few days. We pray, Lord, that you would remind us of your presence.'
As the congregation gathered inside the church, a Metro police officer and members of the Nashville Fire Department guarded outside, USA Today reported.
Nashville fire assistant Walker Demonbreun, who lives across the street from the church, described hearing about the shooting on Sunday. 'I thought it was my wife and my grandkids,' he said.
'I knew everybody who has been shot,' he added, saying his wife, Pam, had grown up in Burnette Chapel, and many of the church members live locally. 'They were all friends and neighbours. We've been neighbours for 30-something years.'
Burnette Chapel plans to resume its regular services in its fellowship hall, despite Pastor Spann still being in recovery. Church elders hope to have a grief counselor on hand on Sunday.
The police and firefighters are keen for the congregation to feel comfortable, so may retain a presence on Sunday.
'We just want to let them know we're here with them,' said Sgt Robert Hanson. 'And we want them to know that they're safe.'
The suspect in the shooting, Emanuel Samson is being charged with one count of murder, with additional charges pending.