New Braunfels faithful remember victims killed in crash
NEW BRAUNFELS — Cloaked with white dress shirts, black pants, and purple ties and scarves — which they don during the first Sunday service of each month — the seats of those lost during the fatal head-on collision Wednesday remained empty among the choir at First Baptist New Braunfels on Sunday.
“It’s important for us to recognize this mourning. That our pain is real, our loss is real, our grief is real,” Senior Pastor Brad McLean said at the Sunday service to remember the 13 killed Wednesday in a head-on crash in Uvalde County. “As a church family, we will have to work through these losses together.”
The victims plus a sole survivor were in a church mini-bus heading back to New Braunfels from a senior retreat at Alto Frio Baptist Camp and Conference Center in Leakey, which is about 100 west of San Antonio.
Jack D. Young, 20, of Leakey, was driving the opposite direction on U.S. 83 when his 2007 Dodge dually pickup crossed the line, colliding with the bus at high speed, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
McLean paused several times as he delivered his sermon. Many in the pews listened with hands folded or raised, while others were in tears and embraced each other.
He smiled in comfort while reading bible verses from Psalms 42, Romans 8 and Isaiah 61.
“These 13 precious things did not see death, they saw Christ,” McLean said. “Their hope is fulfilled.”
Beth Scarborough, 50, a former pianist at the church, was one of 946 worshipers and visitors who packed the sanctuary, which spilled into the overflow section. She said it was hopeful to see the choir back so soon.
“I was surprised when I came in and saw the senior adult choir up in the sanctuary, but then I thought, ‘Wow,’ ” she said.
McLean hailed their persistence as an example of their “confidence in the Lord,” and of their resiliency and dedication.
McLean also read aloud each of the first names of the deceased: Rhonda Allen, 61; Murray Barrett, 67; Harold B. Barber, 87; Margaret R. Barber, 82; Cristie Moore, 68; Addie M. Schmeltekopf, 84; Dorothy F. Vulliet, 84; Donna Hawkins, 69; Howard B. Allen, 81; Avis S. Banks, 83, of Austin; Martha Walker, 84; Sue Tysdal, 76; and Mildred G. Rosamond, 87.
“They were not perfect people, but they are forgiven people… they are forgiven people,” McLean said as the word “Amen” resounded from the pews.
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