About 500 people attended the service in a makeshift sanctuary on a baseball field a few blocks away.

Texas Church Holds First Service Since Mass Shooting

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (CNN) — The congregation of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs held a service on Sunday, one week after a gunman opened fire in the church, killing 25 people and an unborn child in the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history.

gettyimages 872266340 Texas Church Holds First Service Since Mass Shooting

Police keep watch outside of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs after it was surrounded by a tarp on November 9, 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Officials plan to have the church demolished. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Sunday’s service was held just a few blocks away from the church beneath a white tent on a baseball field, closely guarded by Texas Department of Public Safety agents, sheriff’s deputies and emergency management officers.

Attendees filled about 500 seats in the makeshift sanctuary, which held a small podium for Sunday’s speakers and a wooden cross enveloped white lights. The remaining guests stood in the back.

Pastors and churches from around the area organized the service, and First Baptist Church’s pastor, Frank Pomeroy — whose 14-year-old daughter was killed in the shooting — was expected to speak. Texas Sen. John Cornyn was also slated to make remarks.

People from around the state and distant corners of the country traveled to show their support for the small Texas community, home to about 600 residents. One man drove from Dallas, while another couple told CNN they drove from North Carolina.

The church’s services were typically attended by no more than several dozen people, who gathered within the church’s white walls, singing hymns led by a small worship band.

On Saturday, the church announced the sanctuary would be open to the public on Sunday evening, having been “transformed into a beautiful memorial that celebrates and pays tribute to the lives that were lost.”

Residents, visitors and first responders gathered share a prayer during a Veterans Day ceremony outside the Community Center on Saturday.

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Residents and visitors share a prayer during a Veterans Day ceremony outside the Community Center on November 11, 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

gettyimages 872889832 Texas Church Holds First Service Since Mass Shooting

First responders share a prayer following a Veterans Day ceremony outside the Community Center on November 11, 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The men and women were among the first to enter the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs to begin treating the wounded following the shooting on November 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

It’s unclear whether the memorial will be a permanent installment or a temporary tribute to the victims. Pomeroy previously said he wanted the church to be torn down and a memorial erected in its place.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)

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