GREENSBURG, Kan. (AP) _ Church leaders on Sunday told more than 3,000 residents, volunteers and disaster workers gathered in this tornado-ravaged community they should not fear the future because God was with them.
The non-denominational service marked the first time the congregations have worshipped in Greensburg since a May 4 tornado destroyed more than 90 percent of the south-central Kansas town and killed nine people.
Tears and hugs were common as many residents saw each other for the first time since the tornado. Volunteers passed out flowers to mothers in honor of Mother's Day.
``We are a scattered, dispersed community. But the Lord Jesus is our redeemer and is with us. 'Do not fear for I am with you,' says the Lord,'' said Rev. Gene McIntosh, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Greensburg.
Tim Henning, pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Greensburg, likened the city's plight to that of Job in the Bible, whom God tested by taking away everything he loved but who kept his faith through it all: ``We are like him, we lost everything,'' he said.
Henning reminded residents that God was still with them.
The congregations held hands as Willard Olinger, the elderly pastor of Faith Tabernacle, reassured them that Greensburg will be rebuilt, even if it is not within his lifetime.
Bob and Donna Detwiler, residents of neighboring Pratt whose son-in-law's parents lost their home, said they wanted to be with family here for services.
``It is a chance to get this many people together _ to give them something to think about other than the tragedy they have been through,'' she said.