Friends and strangers both hurting and hopeful turned to Scripture on a day of "phenomenal sadness and mourning" to remember victims killed Wednesday night at Wedgwood Baptist Church.
Gunman Larry Gene Ashbrook killed seven people before committing suicide.
Those mourned were a Sunday school teacher studying to be a youth minister, a seminary student with a bright smile, a favorite church soloist who taught inner-city youth and a high school student who dreamed of owning a film and sound production company.
A day before a citywide memorial service, more than 1,000 people packed a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary auditorium for the funeral of Shawn Brown, the 23-year-old Sunday school teacher.
Pastor Al Meredith told those grieving to breathe deeply and focus on their faith "to get your mind off the pain, and just hang in there" on "a day of phenomenal sadness and mourning."
Brown was studying at the seminary for his master's degree and hoped to become a youth minister. He was eulogized as fun-loving and eager to learn, studying guitar and sign language.
Dan Biaz, who was best man at Brown's wedding two years ago, recalled his friend's "almost-mischievous rapid-fire giggle."
Brown's widow, Kathy Jo, said her husband's goal was to immerse himself in his Baptist faith. "Shawn ran the race victoriously, all the way to God's arms," she said.
Susan "Kim" Jones, 23, worked with youth at Wedgwood. She lived on campus at the seminary where she just recently began classes after graduating from Texas Christian University. Friends said she loved missionary work and had a ready smile and a personality that lit up a room.
"We are not angry and we have peace that God is in control," said Jones's mother, Stephanie Jones. "She was a joy and a delight."
Sydney R. Browning, a 1991 seminary graduate, was the children's choir director at Wedgwood. She also sang in the choir and was a favored soloist. Friends said she loved to sing old hymns. The 36-year-old taught at Success High School, a night school on the Trimble Tech High School campus, where many of her students were dropouts. She was shot while sitting on a couch in the foyer with a friend.
Justin Ray, 17, whose funeral was held at a Methodist church, is said to have blossomed after transferring to the Cassata Learning Center, an alternative school with a self-paced environment. He was a devoted Boy Scout who had developed an interest in the audiovisual arts and wanted to pursue a career in film and sound production. He was videotaping the band and attending to the sound system when gunfire erupted.