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Funeral for pastor's slain wife draws crowd of 2,000

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 11/16/2015 Gabrielle Ferreira, The Indianapolis Star
Davey & Amanda Blackburn © Resonate Church via Facebook, Davey & Amanda Blackburn

WHITESTOWN, Ind. — Rock songs praising Jesus filled the auditorium of Traders Point Christian Church as people gathered for the memorial service for a minister's wife who was shot in the head Tuesday in her home.

Photographs of Amanda Blackburn's life — making goofy faces with her husband, Davey, posing with her family, decorating the Christmas tree — filled screens as more than 2,000 people filed in Sunday for the service.

Just below the stage was Blackburn's coffin, surrounded by photographs and wreaths.

"Some people have funerals, and then some people have celebrations. And in the 28 years that she was with us, Amanda gave us a lot to celebrate, would you agree?" said Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church, who delivered the eulogy.

Four churches came together to coordinate the service, including NewSpring Church, the church the Blackburns attended in South Carolina; and Resonate Church, the Indianapolis church where Davey Blackburn is pastor.

Members of Resonate's worship team provided the live music, which played intermittently throughout the service. A video was shown of Amanda Blackburn's family and Resonate church members remembering her.

"Amanda was a gift from Day One. I'm not just exaggerating because I'm emotional right now and I'm sad. That girl didn't give me five minutes worth of trouble in her life," Amanda Blackburn's mother, Robin Byars of Bristol, Ind., said in the video.

Noble, who met Davey Blackburn when he was a college student, told humorous anecdotes about the couple. Amanda Blackburn died Thursday of her injuries.

She was 12 weeks pregnant and was also mom to a toddler son, Weston.

"I remember thinking about Davey, 'Something's not right with that boy,' " Noble said to the audience's laughter. He recalled meeting his fiancée for the first time when the couple became engaged. "They walked in, and I said that thing that hasn't been quite right with Davey just got made right when she walked in. She truly was the person that completed him and made him a better man."

Things took a somber note when Noble described receiving a text the day Amanda Blackburn was shot, which said she had suffered a head wound.

"For me, in the world that I live in, I thought, maybe she's climbed up on the kitchen cabinet trying to get something and she fell and hit her head," Noble said. After he was told what happened, "I thought, 'No, God, not her.' "

Onstage were a table and some chairs that she had restored.

"Over time, she was able to take something in her hands and turn it into something beautiful and desirable and usable," Noble said, using it as a metaphor for how God takes a bad situation and turns it into something good.

"One day, we'll sit down at a table," Noble said near the close of the service, starting to tear up, "and we will celebrate what is breaking our hearts right now."

Amanda Blackburn was found fatally wounded at 8:30 a.m. ET Tuesday in her Indianapolis home. Police think she was the victim of an attempted burglary because of surveillance video in the area, but the suspect has not been arrested.

Follow Gabby Ferreira on Twitter: @Its_GabbyF



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