In his first service since 26 members of his congregation were killed in Texas’ largest mass shooting, Pastor Frank Pomeroy said, “We choose life.” The pastor’s 14-year-0ld daughter, Annabelle, was among those killed when a gunman entered the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on November 5.
Following the service, the church opened the doors of the building where 26 people lost their lives and 20 others were wounded. Church officials converted the building to a temporary memorial.
Pomeroy was not in attendance that fateful Sunday, having traveled to Oklahoma with his wife. However, on the Sunday before the massacre, Pomeroy told his congregants, “Even if things happen you don’t understand, you still need to do what God is calling you to do,” CBN News reported.
The pastor presented a choice to those who attended this weekend’s service, held in a white tent on a baseball field not far from the church.
“Rather than choose darkness as that young man did that day, we choose life. We have the freedom to choose, and rather than choose darkness as that one man did that day, I say we choose life. Amen?!!,” Pomeroy said.
Of those who died, he said, “Those 26 that are no longer with us are dancing in His presence today.”
The mother-in-law of the shooter attended the service this week. She did not attend services on the day Devin Patrick Kelley came to kill her and the other members of the church community.
Church leadership placed white chairs on the spot where each person was killed.
Pomeroy previously stated that he wants to tear down the building and convert that part of the land to a permanent memorial. He would like to build a new sanctuary on a different part of the land.