First Baptist Church Reunites For First Service Since Mass Shooting

Hundreds offered their support to the Texas community.

First Baptist Church Reunites For First Service Since Mass Shooting

Just a week after a gunman killed 26 members of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, hundreds gathered to attend Sunday service together. The service had been planned for a local community center but was moved outdoors when organizers realized the number of people who wanted to attend. Under a tent on a baseball field about a half a mile away from the location of last week's shooting, the First Baptist Church, which typically only counted a couple dozen members, hosted an estimated 550 people, some of whom had traveled from across the country to support the small Texas community. 



Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who lost his 14-year-old daughter in the shooting, led the service and preached a message of resilience and faith in light of the tragic events last week. Per KSAT 12, Pomeroy, joined by Senator John Cornyn, urged the community to "not allow the lives that were lost or the families hurt lie in vain."

"We have the freedom to choose, and rather than choose darkness like the young man did that day we choose the light," Pomeroy said.

The crowd gave Pomeroy a standing ovation at the end of his sermon. Mark Collins, a former pastor at the church, told the Associated Press the service Sunday was the largest gathering in the church's 100-year history

"My heart breaks, but I'm excited to see what God is going to do," Pomeroy said. "I know God has a plan."

The community plans to turn the church building itself into a memorial. Until then, KSAT reports that the road near the church has become a temporary tribute and is adorned with crosses, balloons, and flowers.  

"It's only been seven days and this community is back to worship, bound together by faith," Cornyn said. "Across this great nation, people are praying for you. They are supporting you."

Cover image via Rick Wilking / REUTERS

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