Her name was Annabelle
Her name was Annabelle and her life ended yesterday, at the tender age of fourteen.
Annabelle Pomeroy was the adopted daughter of the pastor of the First Baptist Church at Sutherland Springs.
Yesterday, after Sunday School, Annabelle went to the sanctuary for worship. Although her parents were out of town, her church family was there and so was she, as every good preacher’s kid should be.
And that was where she was, when an angry gunman with local ties to that congregation shot up the church in the worst mass church shooting in America (yet.)
The world is full of dangers, we all know that.
And Annabelle likely knew it, too.
She was said to have been in state care, prior to being adopted by the Pomeroy family, and Frank and Sherri Pomeroy had made it their mission in life to keep her safe from harm.
Their youngest daughter was flourishing in their loving care, undoubtedly.
But yesterday, it was allegedly the father of two other children who took her life– and that of a reported 25 other innocent victims in that church.
A military veteran who lived outside San Antonio, he’d reportedly faced charges in the past for domestic violence, and his wife was friends with members of the Pomeroy family.
We won’t repeat his name here, because he’s also dead, now, and to add to his infamy serves no purpose.
Yet our hearts go out to the family and friends of the 26 churchgoers killed by this man, to the twenty or more who were injured in the attack– and yes, to his family, also.
It’s all too common to offer up platitudes in the wake of a tragedy like this, because certainly there are no plausible answers to explain the slaughter of innocents in a house of worship. (Churches are supposed to be a safe refuge from the world in times of trouble, after all?)
This latest massacre is sure to fan the flames of social dissension about the need for fewer guns (or more of them, depending on which side of the debate one supports.)
Our intent is not to fan those flames, however. We’re not here to debate the politics of gun control nor to dispute the sovereignty of God or to preach about the power of prayer.
Our intent is simply to offer support to a small town in Texas that has been rocked by an evil act, and to offer comfort to dozens of families who have been forever changed by this tragedy.
There’s a blood drive in San Antonio to help victims of the Sutherland Springs; there’s a taco sale being held at the school in Floresville Friday morning to help raise money for the funerals; and HEB is collecting donations, as is a nonprofit disaster relief organization called HHFRF.
Is any good to be found in the midst of such evil?
This being the month known for thankfulness, we’re struggling to find anything for which to be grateful in light of yesterday’s news.
So let us just say that we’re thankful for small, rock-solid churches like that one in Sutherland Springs. Being built of people of faith, we trust that their faith will sustain them in the days and weeks to come, as they lay their parishioners to rest, as they heal from their wounds, and as they struggle to make sense of the horror that befell them on a sunny Texas Sabbath.
We’re thankful for the members of law-enforcement and for the first responders who are ministering to the people of Sutherland Springs in their time of need, who sprang into action on the weekend and who continue to investigate this terrible crime that occurred.
We’re thankful for the medical professionals who are caring for the wounded; for the doctors and nurses and nurse’s aides who are seeking to fix all that the bullets tore asunder. And we’re thankful for the funeral directors and their staff, who are taking care of those that the medical providers could not.
We lift heartfelt prayers for those left to mourn all the lives of those who were lost yesterday, for the friends and families who held them so dear.
And just days into National Adoption Month, we pause to remember some very special adoptive parents named the Pomeroys, and the beloved daughter they lost yesterday.
Her name was Annabelle, and she will not be soon forgotten.