Tiny First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, the scene of the nation’s latest mass shooting, puts video of some of its sermons on YouTube.
This one was posted just last week:
The church website reportedly was taken down after Sunday’s shooting, which reportedly killed 27 of the church’s 50 members and wounded two dozen more.
The church is a white, wood-framed building with a double-door at the entrance and a Texas flag on a pole at the front area, according to its website, which was down shortly after the shooting. The website says the church schedule was for a fellowship breakfast on Sunday mornings, followed by Sunday School. A morning worship service was scheduled for 11 a.m. The first news reports of the shooting were between noon and 12:30 p.m.
The church has posted videos of its Sunday services on a YouTube channel, raising the possibility that the shooting was captured on video.
In the most recent service, posted Oct. 29, Pastor Frank Pomeroy began by speaking in front of a stage with two guitarists and a singer. A few children can be seen moving around and climbing onto the pews. Most people, including Pomeroy, were in jeans.
Pomeroy parked a motorcycle in front of his lectern and used it as a metaphor in his sermon for having faith in forces that can’t be seen, whether it was gravity or God.
“I don’t look at the moment, I look at where I’m going and look at what’s out there ahead of me,” Pomeroy said. “I’m choosing to trust in the centripetal forces and the things of God he’s put around me.”
In Fort Worth, news of the attack saddened retired pastor Al Meredith, who knows the horror of a church mass shooting firsthand.
On Sept. 15, 1999, Larry Gene Ashbrook invaded a youth rally carrying 200 rounds of ammunition and a pipe bomb at Wedgwood Baptist Church. Before he turned his gun on himself, seven people were dead and seven others injured.
“Oh, no,” Meredith said Sunday when told the number who had died Sunday in the Sutherland Springs church. “It breaks my heart.”
“You never get over it,” he said. “You get through it.”
Meredith had heard the church was in a small Texas town near San Antonio.
“The whole community will grieve for months,” Meredith said. “They will suffer a deep grief.”
Staff writer Domingo Ramirez Jr. contributed to this report, which includes material from The Associated Press.