Survivors of Koresh's '93 standoff build new church

Howard News Service, December 22, 1999
By Penny Owen

Followers of David Koresh, who was killed in 1993 during a standoff with federal agents near Waco, Texas, are hoping to have a new church built by April.

The new church for the Branch Davidians is being built by volunteers who have hauled hammers, boards and cement in their pickups each Sunday for the last 14 weeks.

The scheduled opening of the church--which is contingent on more donations coming in--will be April 19, the seventh anniversary of the fire that ended the 51-day standoff between the religious sect and federal agents. In the end, about 80 Branch Davidians were killed, along with Koresh and four agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. About a dozen Branch Davidians are still in the Waco area. They have gathered to worship in each other's homes and in the tiny survivors' museum, a ramshackle building a few hundred yards from the original compound.

"Truth will always rise out of the ashes," said Edna Doyle, a Davidian who lives in a trailer on the 77-acre tract with her son, Clive, who survived the fire.

About $35,000 has been raised, but $50,000 more is needed to finish the church, said one volunteer.

One observer described the Davidian services as a "bland Bible study." The members call their Sabbath gatherings "meetings," not services, and consider them a time of serious study.

Davidians don't recruit members. Many of them believe that only a prophet, like Koresh, can make someone a member. They have no leader, so there can be no new members. They simply wait for Koresh to return for the resurrection.

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