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Book about Wedgwood Baptist Church honors 7 who were killed, 7 wounded

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–With the prayer that hurting Christians will find comfort and non-Christians will be saved, Wedgwood Baptist Church dedicated “Night of Tragedy, Dawning of Light,” a book about the Sept. 15 shootings at the Fort Worth, Texas, church.

“It is our prayer that lonely, hurting Christians can realize that God can come into the midst of your darkest tragedy and minister peace and light to your life and make out of the broken places the strongest place of your life,” said Wedgwood pastor Al Meredith during a May 28 dedication service at Wedgwood.

Meredith, who wrote the foreword to the book, noted a chapter in the book for non-Christians on “how to get to heaven from Wedgwood.”

The book was written in memory of the seven people killed by gunman Larry Ashbrook and in honor of the seven who were wounded.

In her prayer of dedication in Wedgwood’s second worship service, Kathy Jo Brown, widow of shooting victim Shawn Brown, asked that the book would encourage Christians to continue evangelizing the world.

“Lord, I pray … that all the people who have come to know you and all that will come to know is just a result of you turning something so bad into something for your glory,” Brown said.

David Griffin, father of shooting victim Cassie Griffin, gave the prayer of dedication in the first service.

All royalties from the book will be donated to the Southern Baptist International Mission Board for Wedgwood Baptist Church members who minister to unreached people groups in World A.

The book was written by church member Dan Crawford, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor of evangelism and spiritual formations. In October, Wedgwood Baptist Church commissioned Crawford to write the book.

“Thanks to you for your confidence in me expressed in that vote and thanks to the families of the victims [who] were my first editorial board,” Crawford told the church.

After completing a draft of the book, Crawford said he asked each of the victims’ families to read the draft before he sent it to the publisher.

Crawford said more than 100 people contributed to the book either by being interviewed or by sending him written accounts. News media allowed him to use their research and stories.

“There are many accounts of what happened that night and the aftermath of that night and you may well read something and say that’s not the way it was,” Crawford said to the congregation. “Well, there were a lot of versions and we tried our best to put a timeline to it and to give it a consensus of what actually happened during those moments that Wednesday evening.”

Kevin Galey, who was wounded in the shooting, and Chip Gillette, a church member and one of the first police officers on the scene, are listed as coauthors.

Church members and others who attended the dedication service were given an opportunity to purchase copies of the book for $5. The publisher, Shaw Books, a division of Random House, made 5,000 copies of the book available to the church at the discounted price. The book went on sale to the public May 29 for $14.99.

The dedication service also included performance of “Only Heaven Knows,” a song about the shooting written by Fort Worth music evangelists David and Julianna Barnett. Julianna is a teacher at Bethesda Christian School where Kristi Beckel, one of the teenagers killed in the shooting, attended.

David Barnett said that the music for the song was written the morning after the shooting during an extended chapel at the school. The lyrics were written later that day.

The song is available on a CD that also includes the sheet music for the song, an accompaniment track, 200 photos of banners and well wishes posted on the walls at Wedgwood after the shooting, poetry written about the shooting and a video of “See You At The Pole” rallies that was supposed to have been shown at Wedgwood Sept. 15.

To purchase the CD, contact the Barnetts at [email protected] or P.O. Box, 820304, Fort Worth, Texas, 76182.

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  • Matt Sanders