ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- Beyond the brick of what used to be a firehouse, hugs and handshakes preceded a bittersweet welcome for Pastor Tim Kelley.
For the first time since his daughter was accidentally shot dead inside Grace Connection Church, Pastor Kelley was coming back to lead Sunday services.
"I love you, pastor," one parishioner whispered to him.
Five weeks ago,a parishioner and long-time family friend was showingHannah's boyfriend the safety features of his pistol when it accidentally fired. A bullet ripped through the wall and into the rec room, where Hannah was standing. She was shot in the head and died a week later.
"I went by her gravesite on the way here today," Pastor Kelley told his son.
Coffee and tissues were both crucial on a day like this, as Kelley mustered up the strength to deliver a sermon while sharing lessons from great loss.
"I will not pretend to be strong," Pastor Kelley told the crowd of nearly 300. "I pray to God I never take another thing for granted."
Moises Zambrana, the man whose pistol accidentally fired, stood by Pastor Kelley during the service.
"Pastor, I just wish it was different," he whispered in Kelley's ear.
"I know," Kelley said.
Shortly after, Kelley brought Zambrana's family on-stage. "Bless every part of their life. Heal their broken hearts,"he said in prayer."They loved our Hannah Grace, and Hannah Grace loved them."
And Pastor Kelley knows that love is felt through the congregation he's returned to.
"You are such an example for all of us," a parishioner told him.