Covenant Presbyterian holds first worship service since school tragedy

by Jacob Fuller

Katie Kerekes, FISM News

In the wake of a community reeling with tragedy, members of the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee gathered for worship on Sunday for the first time since six of their own were murdered in The Covenant School shooting last week.

According to The Daily Wire, The Palm Sunday evening gathering was held at the nearby Christ Presbyterian Church, where members were encouraged by their ministers to hold fast to the hope and promise in Jesus Christ which remain the same through adversity.

“The world has changed since the last time we got together on the Lord’s Day,” Rev. Britton Wood noted.

Today is the day that we are reminded by our King, who lived for us and who died for us and who has risen for us, today is the day that He reminds us of the things that have not changed, of the Kingdom that cannot be shaken. And let that draw us to offer God worship with reverence and awe.

Visitors in attendance who traveled to grieve with and support their families, as well as the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) were welcomed into the body with love and appreciation, as all those in mourning were lifted up in prayer.

“Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding, deal graciously with those who mourn,” Rev. Wood prayed. “Surround them with Your love, that they may not be overwhelmed with their loss, but have confidence in Your goodness and strength to meet the days to come. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”

THE SHOOTING

As previously reported by FISM, the female shooter, who identified as a man, shot and killed three children and three adults on the morning of Monday, March 27, before being gunned down by MNPD Officers Engelbert and Collazo. Reports following the coordinated attack revealed the 28-year-old suspect to be a former student of the Christian school.

The 9-year-old victims were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, and Hallie Scruggs, the daughter of Covenant Presbyterian Church minister Chad Scruggs. Headmaster Katherine Koonce, 60, and 61-year-olds Cynthia Peak and Mike Hill, a substitute teacher and custodian respectively, were also killed.

HYMNS OF HOPE

The service was filled with comforting hymns such as “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past,” “Be Still, My Soul,” and “Abide with Me,” and Rev. Billy Barnes preached the message from the final chapter of Luke.

The passage recounts when Jesus walked with His grieving disciples on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection. Amid their sadness concerning His death, they failed to recognize Him.

Rev. Barnes correlated the disciples’ inability to see beyond the events which had occurred to the Covenant community’s current situation amid the suffering and loss they are facing and ended with the encouragement of God’s sovereignty.

“We are all on the road to Emmaus together right now,” Barnes said. “He is with us. And He will be until the end of the age. And He is risen.”

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5

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