About 500 people returned this morning to The Door Christian Fellowship for a Bible study conference that was continuing in spite of a shot fired into the congregation last night.
"When people get saved, they go through trials all the time," contended Annie Zearr, 39, of Tucson. She looked at the incident, in which one church-goer was seriously wounded, as just another one of those trials.
:What God is sowing here is eternal," she said at the church today. "We all know there's a spiritual warfare going on out there."
An unknown gunman with a high-powered rifle shot through an orange metal door on the north side of the church at 2950 E. Irvington Road during services related to the conference.
Zaerr was at the biannual conference yesterday and said that the gunfire "just sounded like firecrackers going off."
After the wounded were cared for, the rest of the congregation returned to prayer, she said.
A church member for the past 11 years, Zaerr said she had been "saved" only hours before she planned to "go home and blow my brains out."
Zaerr said she'd been a drug addict and dealer.
"After that, people were always trying to give me drugs or get me to sell them; there were always trials," she said.
Last night's shooting, she said, "just shows the intent of man's heart without God - People don't have any conscience."
Several others arriving for the 9 a.m. conference today were reluctant to discuss the incident.
The Rev. Harold Warner, who started The Door Christian Fellowship here 14 years ago, said "we don't want to focus on this thing." The five-day conference ends tonight.
The South Side church began in an old hall on Veterans Boulevard and moved to its new 24,000 square foot facilities on Irvington last year.
The Pentecostal church's brand of evangelism has drawn many ex-addicts, recovering alcoholics, young people and others in desperate straits.
"This morning, I challenged the congregation to go on with what we're supposed to do," said Warner.
He said the congregation has "planted churches" around the United States and in 16 other countries, including Australia, Mexico, Costa Rica, West Germany, Argentina and the Philippines.
The gunman, he said, "is obviously sick, but everyone reads in the papers about the psychos, idiots and murderers out there."
"We know we live in a wicked world. I don't like it, but it's not going to stop us from getting on with our work."