The church hosted overflow crowds at all three morning Masses Sunday.
Wood said everyone left calmly but described a congregation on edge. One boy, about 9, left with his mother.
"He asked his mom, 'Mom, why are we leaving?'," Wood recalled. "The mom couldn't answer. She just started crying."
Nancy Elis lived in Newtown for 28 years before moving to nearby Southbury in 2006, but she was back Sunday to visit her former church.
With police searching the property, she said the scene looked like "a war zone."
"This is the house of God," she said, sobbing. "Why would they have to leave for fear for their lives? What's become of our nation?"
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