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First victims of Texas church massacre buried, church holds first service since tragedy

by Tola Mbakwe

Richard and Therese Rodriguez were the first victims of the shootings to be laid to rest.

Hundreds of people paid their respects to the couple on Saturday who'd both survived cancer. They were among 26 people shot dead by Devin Kelley in First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on 5th November. He later killed himself.

Meanwhile, the church held its first service since the tragedy on Sunday morning. Pastor of the church, Frank Pomeroy delivered the sermon to hundreds of people under a tent at a nearby baseball field.

According to the New York Times, he said: "This past weekend, our country was attacked, our state was attacked, our church was attacked."

But Pomeroy encouraged the attendees by saying the power of light will always triumph over darkness.

He added: "I know everyone who lost their life that day, some of whom were my best friends, and my daughter.

"And I guarantee without any shadow of a doubt they are dancing with Jesus today. God gets the glory."

The attendees, which were 500 strong, sang "Amazing Grace" during the tearful service.

Last week, Pomeroy announced that First Baptist Church will be demolished because it would be too painful to continue using the building as a place of worship. However, on Sunday evening, the church sanctuary was opened as a memorial for the public to pay their respects to the slain congregation.

The room was transformed with white paint from ceiling to the floor. There were 25 white chairs with a red cross and a rose on each to commemorate those who died. One pink rose was placed on a chair to pay homage to the unborn child that died.

There was also a wooden cross at the front of the room, with the Bible turned to the scripture that was supposed to be read on the day of the attack.

According to CNN, audio clips of the victim's voices were playing in the background.

Pomeroy said in Sunday's service: "I want everyone that walks in there to know that the people who died lived for their Lord and saviour, and would want them to live as well."

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