Rocked by hail, Granbury church finds hope

Posted Saturday, May. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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kennedy If it wasn’t Judgment Day, it felt close.

As worshipers huddled to study the Great Hailstorm of Bible prophecy Wednesday night, something began pounding the roof of Calvary Church in Granbury.

“It sounded like a hundred men pounding baseball bats,” said pastor Jacob Stump, teaching the book of Revelation.

He had just finished reading from Chapter 11: “And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”

As a thunderclap echoed and tennis-ball-sized hailstones plunked down on the church, the 60 or so worshipers fell silent.

“Everybody already had their minds on the weather,” Stump said Friday as a Facebook post spread about the church, part of the Missouri-based United Pentecostal denomination.

“When that happened — well, we didn’t know what to think.”

First, Stump and a few worshippers ran to check on children in a different building. Then, one brought in a few hailstones to show.

Then, they prayed.

To Stump’s credit, he does not say Texas’ deadliest tornado in nearly a half-century was heavenly judgment.

“Our hearts are hurting here,” said Stump, 37, a business school graduate in his eighth year as pastor. “This community is in pain.”

The church did not lose any worshippers, but some knew friends and support charities 5 miles away in the hard-hit Rancho Brazos subdivision, he said.

He shared a draft of his sermon for Sunday: “The Message of the Hail.”

“Is God angry?” he wrote.

“Is this God’s judgment? No, I do not believe that.”

God is simply reaching out, he said.

“God’s message is that we are not alone,” Stump wrote.

“His voice was heard in the footfall of muddy boots searching for victims.

“His voice was heard in the chaos and the hastily called meetings.

“His voice was heard in the abundance of donations and the army of volunteers.

“His voice was heard in the love of strangers sacrificing like friends.”

That pounding on the roof was a message of shelter. Not storms.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538 Twitter: @BudKennedy Get alerts at

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