The people were seated, and Pastor Dennis Rogers was at the pulpit.
"Let us pray," he said.
A bomb shattered the silence of Sunday prayer. The explosion ripped through the heart of a sanctuary and its worshipers.
The bomb, which investigators discovered had been left outside the building near a central air-conditioning unit, tore a 10-by-15 foot hole in the sanctuary wall adjacent to the church's youth-seating section. Of the 35 people injured that morning, more than 20 were teenagers.
When Rogers reflects on that Memorial Day weekend in 1998, he realizes it could have been much worse.
Now, more than a year and a half later, the veteran of more than 20 years of ministry says the congregation at First Assembly of God in Danville, Illinois, is stronger than it has ever been.
Rogers knows people should feel safe in God's house. But he, like many pastors, struggles with how to protect those who attend his church while remaining an open, welcoming community where people can come freely ...1