Now at a new location, the rural Texas church continues on in memory of the 26 members killed, including the pastor’s teenage daughter.
Frank Pomeroy was hunting in the wet and cold Alaskan bush when the Lord gave him his final sermon as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.
Considering the grizzlies, black bear, wolves, and rain, Pomeroy suspected the message would somehow encompass creation.
“But God kept bringing me back to, this was an opportunity for me to share what’s important for the church to continue on,” Pomeroy told Baptist Press, “and that’s when He … led me to Paul’s letter to Ephesus (Acts 20) and we just went from there.”
The tragedy First Sutherland Springs weathered when a gunman killed 26 worshipers and wounded 22 others on November 5, 2017, is perhaps the memory the church’s name most readily provokes. But First Sutherland Springs has ministered since 1926 in the small community of less than 1,000 people, 20 years under the leadership of Pomeroy.
“What really brings Sutherland Springs together over these 20 years is that there really is a true sense of relationship and family,” he said. “And therefore, we have always been very inclusive of the community, and that the church would be the center of the community, whether it was during a tragedy or in the good times.
“High on the mountain or low in the valley, there’s always been a true sense of family with those in the community. And that’s the thing I think I cherish the most, is that love never fails, as Paul said, and that love will extend to everyone who will come and listen to the Word.
“I think again, if we can be remembered as promoting and making sure everyone knew that that pulpit was never my pulpit, it’s always God’s pulpit,” he said, “and …