Pastor comforts New Braunfels congregation in first service since tragic crash

Senior Pastor Brad McLean delivers his sermon on April 2, 2017, during the first service held at the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels since 13 members of the congregation died in a traffic accident. (Courtesy Laura McKenzie/New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung)
Senior Pastor Brad McLean delivers his sermon on April 2, 2017, during the first service held at the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels since 13 members of the congregation died in a traffic accident. (Courtesy Laura McKenzie/New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung)

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (KXAN) — The First Baptist Church of New Braunfels held its first service Sunday morning since losing 13 members in a deadly crash earlier last week in Uvalde County.

In his sermon, Senior Pastor Brad McLean told the congregation that the grieving process would not be done in just one Sunday — or even a week — but that it would take time to deal with their loss.

“It’s important for us to recognize this morning that our pain is real, our loss is real, our grief is real,” he said. “And as a church family, we will have to work through these losses together.”

Despite this terrible tragedy, he told the congregation that joy will return in their future together as a church.

“It will take us a while as a church family to allow the Lord to begin to let us share in smiles, and laughs, and hugs, and those things we do enjoy as a church family,” McLean said. “And so it’s good for us to be together this morning, isn’t it?”

Investigators said a pickup truck driven by Jack Young, 20, of Leakey, Texas, hit a bus from the church head-on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

Jody Kuchler, who witnessed the crash, said he spoke to Young moments after the crash as he lay injured and pinned inside his vehicle.

Kuchler said Young kept apologizing and told him he had been texting.

Kuchler saw Young driving erratically and tried to stop him by calling 911 and the Real County Sheriff’s Office just before the crash.

In an audio recording of one of the call, Kuchler can be heard saying, “He’s going to hit somebody head on or he’s going to kill his own damn self. Somebody needs to get this guy off the road.”

Federal investigators have not yet released what caused the crash, but they did confirm that most of the passengers on the bus were wearing seatbelts.

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