First Baptist Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who was out of town when the shooting occurred and whose 14-year-old daughter Annabelle was among the dead, told reporters the church’s tragedy will exalt Christ. “Christ is the one who’s going to be lifted up,” Pomeroy said at a Nov. 6 news conference. “That’s what I’m telling everybody. You lean into what you don’t understand. You lean into the Lord … Whatever life brings to you, lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding. I don’t understand, but I know my God does. And that’s where I’ll leave that.”
SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas – The North American Mission Board (NAMB) on the behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention has confirmed it has offered to cover funeral expenses for all shooting victims in coordination with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC).
Ministering in the wake of the deadliest church shooting in U.S. history, Southern Baptists say they’ve witnessed “God at work” despite the 26 dead and some 20 others wounded at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Local pastors and field personnel with the SBTC began providing grief counseling within hours of the shooting at First Baptist’s morning worship service Nov. 5.
Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines and SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page plan to arrive in Sutherland Springs today (Nov. 7) to offer prayer and encouragement. SBTC executive director Jim Richards arrived yesterday (Nov. 6).
Gaines, pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., told Baptist Press SBC leaders want to help First Baptist however they can.
“Yesterday as we prayed at Bellevue for the families of those slain and also the others who were wounded at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs,” Gaines said in written comments, “I sensed the need to go there and try to minister to the pastor and his wife and their devastated congregation. I discussed it with Frank Page and Jim Richards, and we all agreed to go and help any way we possibly can. Our Southern Baptist family grieves with this beloved church and the community it serves. Our prayers are ascending steadily to God’s throne of grace. May God bring healing and hope to these that are hurting.”
Page said he and Gaines hope to “show our love” for the Pomeroys, congregation and town.
“Both Dr. Gaines and I had other commitments this week in state conventions, but prayed together and felt led of God to go see if we can minister in any way, however small, in that terrible setting,” Page said. “The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, represents who we are as Southern Baptists — a conservative, multi-generational church led by a bi-vocational, godly pastor. [The church] reflects the core of who we are. I call Southern Baptist churches to pray for these dear people.”