After the tragic death of their pastor, a community in Iowa is mourning the loss of a dedicated leader.

On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, Reverend Allen Henderson was found unresponsive outside of St. Paul Lutheran Church. He had been assaulted, reports Faithwire.

The 64-year-old pastor was pronounced dead by doctors upon his arrival at the hospital. His passing impacted many, including first responders in the area who he had served as a chaplain.

The Fort Dodge Police Department (FDPD) called Henderson a beloved member of their family, saying, "we are working with heavy hearts this evening as we move forward from this tragic incident ... He will forever be remembered for his dedication and service for all of those he touched within this community and beyond."

Since 1999, Henderson has served hundreds of congregants at Saint Paul Lutheran Church. A Thursday evening prayer vigil brought numerous members of his church and the community to honour Henderson's life and legacy.

The pastor's outreach also went beyond the walls of the church. He worked with Serving our Servants, a group that serves first responders. He also has helped raise money for the FDPD to purchase attire for formal events.

Hundreds gathered for Henderson's funeral on Saturday, October 5, at St. Paul's. The Des Moines Register reports that the service began with the singing of the hymn 'Onward Christian Soldiers.'

The service was conducted by the Rev. Steve Turner, president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's Iowa District West office in Fort Dodge, Iowa. In his sermon, he spoke on John 10, where Jesus tells his followers he is a shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.

"Pastor Henderson laid down his life," Turner said. "Al was no hired hand who runs away at the sign of trouble. No, we know him as someone like so many of the officers here."

Turner acknowledged the anger that many are likely feeling. 

"Jesus understands that pain we feel," he said.

Investigators have identified a 36-year-old man as the individual responsible for Henderson's death. He was seen on surveillance footage attempting to enter the church. The man has been charged with first-degree murder and robbery.

Police have not yet released a motive behind the attack on Henderson, though it has been reported that it is unknown whether Henderson was known to his attacker.