The pastor of the tiny Texas church where a madman massacred 26 people and wounded 24 last Sunday wants the building torn down.
"The pastor expressed his desire that perhaps the best way forward is to have the church demolished and replaced with a prayer garden," Southern Baptist Convention spokesman Roger "Sing" Oldham, told USA Today.
The Southern Baptist Convention's president and CEO of the executive committee, Frank Page, and SBC President Steve Gaines confirmed the church will be razed, Religion News Service reported. The decision came after meeting with the Sutherland Springs pastor Frank Pomeroy, whose 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle, was killed during the shooting rampage.
Pomeroy and his wife Sherri weren't in church the day the killer opened fire.
"There's too many that do not want to go back in there," Pomeroy told the Wall Street Journal. Approximately half of the 100-member church was attending service that morning.
Donor offers to pay for construction of new church
An anonymous donor has stepped up and agreed to fund the construction of a new church, Page said, according to Religion News Service.
Oldham told the Associated Press that the building is "too stark of a reminder" of the mass killings that took place in the small town of about 600 near San Antonio.
What's being done until the church can be torn down?
Workers replaced the front doors, repaired bullet holes and painted the outside of the church Thursday. Then a black tarp was wrapped around the portable chainlink fence that now surrounds the property.
Who's helping the victims' families with funeral costs?
The North American Mission Board in coordination with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention has offered to cover funeral costs using funds pledged by an anonymous donor.
"Southern Baptists are going to pay for the funerals of those in the church because we want to take care of our own," Page said.
Viewings for some of the victims will be held this weekend.
What can I do?
If you would like to help the families affected by this tragedy, here's where you can donate:
● Mercury One, a fund set up by Glenn Beck for the victims of Sutherland Springs will send 100 percent of the money raised to the relief effort.
● The North American Mission Board set up a fund to help rebuild Sutherland Springs.