The Salmon Arm Church of Christ will be holding its first church service in its home at Fifth Avenue SE this Sunday, June 16 since the shooting on April 14. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Shuswap church will resume services at site of fatal shooting

Churchgoers to return to Salmon Church of Christ on June 16, two months after killing

Nearly two months to the day, the Salmon Arm Church of Christ will be resuming services at its home in Salmon Arm following a fatal shooting.

Church teacher Doug Kendig says the congregation held a potluck there last Sunday in order to get used to being back in the building.

“It’s a little bit awkward of course because people still visualize what happened in their mind’s eye,” he said.

On April 14, church elder Gord Parmenter was fatally shot in the church and a fellow churchgoer who was trying to help him, Paul Derkach, was shot in the leg.

Matrix Gathergood, 25, faces charges regarding the shooting.

Kendig expressed the church’s appreciation for the Salmar Theatre, which has allowed the congregation to use its premises for the past two months.

He also expresses gratitude for all those in the community who have continued to show their care and support.

Read more: Salmon Arm church enveloped with care after shooting

Read more: Salmon Arm church shooting victim speaks of gratitude and love

Read more: Former foster child lovingly remembers Salmon Arm shooting victim

A few changes have been made inside the church prior to the upcoming service.

“We reconfigured the chairs so people don’t have their back to the door,” he said.

“So many people had nervous reactions and uncomfortable feelings. Getting beyond that, there are still going to be worries and uncomfortable feelings but we’re moving ahead.”

Kendig mentions that at the last ministerial association gathering held in Saskatchewan, a minister there said he had a daughter who lives in Texas.

At the large U.S. church, a uniformed officer is at the door for every service and six people inside are armed, the minister explained.

Kendig said he’s glad things are not like that here.

“Starting… June 16, we will be back in our own facilities again. Come join us as we worship God and celebrate God’s mercy and goodness in our lives! Sunday 10:30 a.m.!” states a community thank-you from the church.

Added Kendig: “We’ve appreciated very much the support we’ve felt from the community; it’s been good.”


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