SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas—Pastor Frank Pomeroy spoke with the heart of a pastor who was helping guide what remains of his flock after almost half of them were murdered one week ago.
Pomeroy also spoke as a grieving father.
“These folks were my best friends and my daughter,” he said Sunday, almost inconsolably crying. “I want you to know that today I promise, I guarantee you they are dancing with Jesus.”
Twenty-six people, including 14-year-old Annabelle Pomeroy, were killed at First Baptist Church last Sunday. Pomeroy was absent last Sunday and the guest preacher, Bryan Holcombe, was killed. At 11:30 this morning there was a moment of silence to commemorate the one-week anniversary.
“Instead of choosing darkness like the gunman here did, we have decided to choose life,” Pomeroy said.
With that, the crowd of nearly 400 from all across Texas stood, wiped away tears, clapped, and lifted their hands towards Heaven.
White folding chairs were lined up in neat rows beneath an equally bright white canopy, some rows reserved for church families like Pomeroy and his wife. Despite the size, the crowd was s that they stood in the rain outside the tent, in raincoats and beneath umbrellas. Milling about were volunteers and service animals to comfort the afflicted.
“I am here to show my love for my fellow man,” said Raj Hassani, a medical professional and a Muslim. “I had decided to stay away from the center of worship so not to draw attention, but I felt that I should be here to show solidarity and support.”
Hassani said he knows the church’s pain after losing his mother, father, sister and three brothers in the Christmas Day Tsunami of 2004.
“I don’t know how it feels to have your family die from an act of violence but I know how it hurts to lose them all by way of tragedy,” Hassani said. “I hurt for them all. I hurt for man who lost so many of his family. God is with him, I know.”
Marie Boswick sat in her car, sobbing, and clutching her daughter close to her chest.
“We came here to love on our friends and when we pulled in here my daughter asked me if she would die today,” Boswick said. “I just decided to stay here and love my child through this.”