The CEO of the Ecumenical Center said thousands of people received counseling after the tragic shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs held a memorial service and ringing ceremony Saturday morning. The private event marked the 5th anniversary since a gunman killed 26 people and injured nearly two dozen others in 2017.

Terrie Smith, a resident of Sutherland Springs, said the pain has not eased over the past five years, but the community has come together during this time.

“They say time heals all wounds. It doesn’t. You just learn to adapt to the pain. You focus on the memories. The good memories. The community stays very united and everyone takes care for each other here. Faith in God keeps the community going,” Smith said.

Smith said participating in the event with others and taking advice also helped.

Through the Ecumenical Centre, free advice is always available to the community. CEO Mary Beth Fisk told Kens 5 that there are currently three counseling centers in or near Sutherland Springs and that they are ensuring those sites are staffed.

“If they are a victim of a crime and connected to this (tragedy), it costs them nothing,” Fisk said.

Fisk said the centers are also open to other people who need counseling and the cost is “on a sliding scale”, but the centers want to lower the cost of care.

Fisk said that even five years after such a tragedy, it’s only fitting that the anniversary of the event is triggered for people who lived through it. She said anyone affected by this tragedy should seek help.

“If you’re feeling overwhelmingly anxious or depressed, seek help,” Fisk said. “Look for the support you deserve.”

You can contact the Ecumenical Center at 210-616-0885. Fisk said there were three locations in the Sutherland Springs area:

  • First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, 216 4th Street, Sutherland Springs, TX 78161
  • River Oaks Church, 10294 FM 539 Sutherland Springs, TX 78161
  • The Center for Healing and Hope, 13774 US HWY 87 W. La Vernia, TX 78121

Smith said her counseling experience has helped her engage others and build unity in the Sutherland Springs area.

“Unity is what will keep things together. Don’t be afraid to share and talk to someone even if they are a total stranger. I learned this through counseling and it helps. It really does.”


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