Service planned to honor victims of deadly church shooting

Todd G. Higdon

The Micronesian community has slated a memorial service at the First Congregational Church, 115 N. Wood St., Neosho, Mo., to remember three members that were fatally shot in the church Sunday, Aug. 12, 2007.

The service will be held at noon.

On that day in 2007, Kernel Rehobson, 43, of Goodman, Mo.,who served as a pastor at the church, his uncle, Intenson S. Rehobson, 44, and Kuhpes Jesse Ikosia, 53, also of Goodman, were shot inside the church during an afternoon service. Four other people were wounded.

According to First Congregational Church pastor Tom Thorne, there will be a memorial stone that will set outside, donated by Brewer-England Monument.

Thorne noted there would be a scripture on the back of the stone, and on the front there will be an inscription.

The stone is a granite gray square stone, with a cross on the front. It measures 2 foot by 2 foot and 8 inches thick.

“(On the stone, it reads) ‘in honor of Kernel Rehobson, Intenson Rehobson, and Kuhpes Ikosia, who during the afternoon service on Aug. 12, 2007, at the First Congregational Church tragically lost their lives’,” said Brewer-England Monument Co. owner Tim Dittmer. “And that is the front. On the back side, it says, ‘the Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:8.’”

Dittmer felt like it “was an honor to be asked to (produce the stone).”

The public is invited to attend Tuesday’s memorial service.

The Micronesians have held services at the church for some time — and still do, according to Thorne.

“They meet with us (at 11 a.m.) on the first and the third Sundays during our service and then they have their own worship services on the second and the fourth Sundays of the month,” Thorne said. “They meet at 12:30 p.m., and some worship with us each Sunday.”

The Micronesians are a close-knit community. It is estimated that they number around 1,000 in Southwest Missouri.

“They are doing all right, as well as can be expected. Whenever you lose three prominent leaders, it is always difficult and the families are still struggling with that,” said Thorne. “They are really working hard to rebuild and I believe that it has made the two congregations a little closer and we have actually become more like brothers and sisters than two congregations.”

Neosho Daily News