Antioch church members keep faith after mass shooting

Special Reports

ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WKRN) — On a witness stand in a court of law, Brenda Enderson remembers the commitment she made September 24, 2017.

“I had made a decision that morning to start attending, to become a member of that church,” said Enderson.

“Since this has happened, do you still attend there?,” asked a prosecutor with the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office.

“I do,” replied Enderson.

Enderson and more than a dozen other Burnette Chapel Church of Christ members testified in the trial against Emanuel Samson, recounting the horrors of that day. 

At the end of service that morning in September, Samson pulled into the parking lot, grabbed his guns and started shooting. He killed one person, Melanie Crow Smith, shot 6 others and beat the man who eventually stopped his rampage with a gun. 

“I was thinking if he’s going to shoot me he’s going to have to do it in the back because I’m not slowing down,” testified one member.

Their testimonies continue outside the courtroom.

“If I did not continue going there, and i know this may sound naive, but then the Devil wins,” said Enderson. “If something happened to our church then, you know, we’ve let the enemy win.”

The enemy that day was Emanuel Samson. Enderson still thinks about him because what he did is impossible to forget… but not to forgive. 

“You try to take those dark moments and just fill it in with the light and the joy and the fellowship and conversation,” said  Enderson.

It hasn’t been easy but Enderson says her faith makes it possible. Her faith requires it.

In the moments of terror as she was running for safety inside the sanctuary, Enderson remembers her conversation with God.

“When I finally knew I was getting into a room, my conversation was that I was going to tell everyone that I could about Christ.  That I wasn’t going to be ashamed or embarrassed or uncomfortable.”

A promise made in gratitude after reaching safety and kept in faith, knowing she has been saved more than once.

“It taught you, definitely forgiveness, that so many things really, really don’t matter.”

“And,” Enderson added thoughtfully, “That you might not get a chance. You know, love each other as much as you can because you never know what could happen in your day that you may not have another chance to do that.”

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