LITTLETON, Colo. -- Pastor Billy Epperhart was here for some of Columbine's darkest moments. Now he expects to see some of its brightest.
''I'm telling you this community will not just be known for tragedy but for recovery,'' Epperhart said Sunday at Trinity Christian Center, as Columbine High School began a week-long commemoration of the first anniversary of the nation's worst school shooting.
Epperhart officiated at the funerals of four Columbine victims after 12 students, a teacher and two teen gunmen died at the high school last April 20. Sunday, he and others reflected on holding onto hope.
Epperhart used the example of Jesus raising Lazarus after he had been dead four days and placed in a tomb.
''I believe that God can stand at the tomb of this community and say come forth,'' Epperhart said.
Littleton has endured other tragedies since the Columbine shooting. Trinity is only a few hundred feet from the sandwich shop where two Columbine students were killed Feb. 14.
Epperhart acknowledged that the community is still raw, but he said people should accept what happened and forgive those involved so that they are not paralyzed by it.
Officials expect as many as 100,000 people at the school and adjacent Clement Park on the first anniversary.
A sheriff's command post has been set up in the park for paramedics and deputies.
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