Fort Worth

‘God Wastes Nothing': Wedgwood Baptist Church Commemorates 20 Year Anniversary of Deadly Shooting

On September 15, 1999, the members of Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth were overcome with tears, deep sadness and an emptiness that only comes from the worst kind of tragedy.

Hundreds of teens packed the church's worship center that night and were waiting for a concert to begin, when a 47-year-old man they had never seen before burst in and started to shoot.

He killed seven people and injured seven others before turning the gun on himself.

On September 15, 2019 -- 20 years later -- church members gathered inside that same worship center, the emotional scars of that night still visible on their faces, but with hearts full of love, faith and hope.

"I think the opportunity that we have today is to declare God's faithfulness," said Jay Fannin, student pastor at Wedgwood Baptist Church. "That God was here 20 years ago. He's been with us, healing us and helping us -- and walking with us all the way through this. And today is a celebration of that."

The title of Sunday's service was "God Wastes Nothing" -- a reminder that even in dark times, moments of light reveal themselves.

Tralissa Griffin, who spoke during the service, understands that better than most.

"So I stand before you today, not as one who has overcome in her own strength -- but as an example of how God provides strength when we have none," Griffin said.

Her 14-year-old daughter Cassie was one of the seven people killed during the shooting.

Although the pain of that loss will never go away, she told church members she took solace in the daily signs and reminders God sends her that he's watching over her. And she said her faith has never been stronger.

"My prayer is today -- and my prayer has been -- that each of you will catch a glimpse of what it means to have a relationship with God," Griffin said.

Church leaders said faith has carried them this far -- and will continue to guide them moving forward.

"Wedgwood, for 20 years, has been known as the church that had a shooting," said Dale Braswell, lead pastor at Wedgwood Baptist Church. "And we don't ever want to forget that. But we want people to know more than just that about us. We want to be known as a church where people go from death to life, spiritually speaking."

To learn more about Wedgwood Baptist Church, the shooting, and the victims, you can visit the church's website.

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