HOUSTON - One week ago on Sunday 26 people were shot and killed inside a First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
The impact of that massacre was seen and felt at churches across the Houston area Sunday. From prayers to police patrols, our local community is working to figure out how to move forward.
“Join together and pray for them,” said senior pastor Greg Matte at Houston’s First Baptist Church. “And we just come Father, to symbolically stand, hands held in unity, standing together, believing that you God can bring something good out of this.”
Solidarity for Sutherland Springs is felt 189 miles east. Houston can’t help but pray and hope for healing.
“There’s things we’re just never going to know, but we can make steps forward to say, okay not why but what now,” said Matte during an 11 a.m. service. “Anything we can possibly do to help, we will help.”
Outside of about a dozen churches, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez offered help too.
“How are you?” asked the sheriff as he greeted various church members. “Just keeping an eye on things,” explained the sheriff.
The sheriff and some of his deputies voluntarily patrolled churches one week after the massacre.
They watched for suspicious activity, met with pastors and offered comfort to members who may feel nervous after attending a worship service in recent days.
“We’re just out here to be proactive and keep an eye on things,” said Gonzalez. “That’s what we hope to bring, a little bit of comfort.”
Earlier this week, KHOU 11 News reported on how several Houston-area worship centers reviewed their security plans.
A number of pastors, preachers and priests began discussions on whether guns should be allowed in religious facilities if carried by licensed members.
“One of the members of this congregation was saying, I never thought I’d see the day when we’d have to see patrol units at our church,” recalled Gonzalez.
“We have to continue to evolve,” said Gonzalez when asked about law enforcement training and situational awareness.
Constable Mark Herman’s Office patrolling the Churches in our Communities. Happy Sunday Everyone! pic.twitter.com/dy1Oh4YlEg— Precinct 4 Constable (@pct4constable) November 12, 2017