“I’m gonna go and buy a mess,’’ the pastor assures his flock.He’s a burly, bald man wearing jeans, a dark work shirt and a loud tie.Later, after the recording of the service is over, we can recall the faithful lyrics to one of the songs:“On that day when my strength is failing/The end draws near and my time has come/Still my soul will sing your praise unending/Ten thousand years, then forever more.’’We measure the words, and wonder if they’re adequate to the challenge ahead. Greg Abbott, in wheelchair, receives a hug from Karen Pence, as he and wife, Cecilia Abbott, welcome Vice President Mike Pence on Nov. Pence traveled to Texas to visit victims of the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church shooting at a local hospital, as well as visit with the families of the victims and participate in a prayer vigil.Alison Gould ,17 talks about her 16-year-old friend, Haley Krueger, who was killed in the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.That, however, is all we can think of when we hear him refer to his passenger on the Harley en route to church that chilly dawn — his daughter Annabelle, 14.She will die in the same church the following Sunday, while both her parents are away.She was brutally punished in some of those places — thrown to the ground and restrained, made to stand on milk crates for hours — and sexually assaulted. She wound up in the emergency room twice for suicidal thoughts.
When Mia was 16, she walked out of a Houston children's emergency shelter. When her mother went to prison, other relatives took her in.Against the wall is a simple wooden cross with nails in the place of Jesus’ hands and feet.A television monitor displays song lyrics and the occasional video to inform Pomeroy’s sermons.We hear good-natured lamentations about inconsistent attendance — up one week, down the next.We wonder who stayed away the following week and who came. His title was associate pastor, but he looked like anyone else in the informal congregation.But now, online for all to see, is the last Sunday service before calamity befell First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.