A grieving community

Mourners endure grief ‘that none of us can comprehend’

SANTA FE, Texas (AP) — Congregations in this deeply religious community near Houston gathered Sunday for their first services since a gunman blasted his way into the high school and killed 10 people, with one pastor lamenting the grief “that none of us can comprehend.”

Just two days after the deaths of eight students and two substitute teachers, the pastor of the Dayspring Church acknowledged the pain wracking Santa Fe, a town of 13,000.

“They will never be forgotten in this community, these young people, children just going to school,” said Brad Drake, who then read the names of the dead, including a slain student who attended services at Dayspring.

“We have families today that are grieving a grief that none of us can comprehend.”

The family of the slain student, Angelique Ramirez, did not attend the service. She was a member of the church’s youth ministry, Drake said.

“She was a sweet young lady, had a style all of her own,” he recalled. “She almost always had a new hairstyle.”

Kelly Ward, who runs a ministry in Springfield, Missouri, and is a licensed counselor, took the stage to urge congregants not to hold in their emotions.

“How do we get through this? What do we do?” Ward asked. “The answer is to let everyone grieve, including yourselves.”

He said people can help grieving family or friends simply by listening.

Church leaders wore green T-shirts with gold lettering — the colors of Santa Fe High School. Inside an outline of the state of Texas, the letters spelled out a verse from 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”