Pastor Frank Pomeroy wasn't sure if his church was going to reopen. The choices were rebuild or tear it to the ground. “There’s too many that do not want to go back in there,” he said, including Pomeroy himself. Three days earlier Devin Patrick Kelley walked into the Baptist church during Sunday service and killed 26 people, including Pomeroy's 14-year-old-daughter Annabelle.
Yesterday the church reopened. Instead of tearing it down, Pomeroy and the Sutherland Springs community turned the church into a memorial for the 26 lives taken on November 5. "Rather than choose darkness as that young man did that day, we choose life."
The church had been completely emptied and painted white from floor to ceiling. Twenty-six white chairs, each painted with the name of a victim, were placed around the church where they had been sitting.
Just went inside Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church. No words can describe the feeling inside the sanctuary. Each chair & rose represents the spot where a member passed away. Many children died here. A recording of Pastor Frank Pomeroy’s sermon from 2 weeks ago also plays. pic.twitter.com/OFyF74U4BF— Marcus Moore (@marcusmoore) November 12, 2017
Visiting Sutherland Springs Baptist church after a week of the tragedy was heartbreaking. 😔Just knowing what had occurred is hard to process. My prayers keep on going out for the victims and the city of Sutherland Springs. 🙏🏼🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/7Iv5VK4kjS— Ruben Tristan (@rubentristan28) November 13, 2017
In Sunday morning sermon, First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs Pastor Frank Pomeroy says he decided to open the building as a memorial "so that everyone who walks in there will know that the people who died lived for their Lord and Savior." https://t.co/X8SjFt9AeE pic.twitter.com/s9zSCdqOHd— ABC News (@ABC) November 13, 2017