Saying he wants to restore “civility and godliness” to Texas and stop its downward moral spiral, Pastor Frank Pomeroy announced on Sunday that he’s running for state senate. Pomeroy’s church, First Baptist Church Sutherland Springs, was the site of the November 2017 Texas church shooting that claimed 26 lives—including that of Pomeroy’s 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle.
Pomeroy, 53, has no political experience and hasn’t been vocal about politics, but he says the massacre at his church two years ago and in El Paso earlier this month put him on a “trajectory” to seek public office. “This is totally out of my wheelhouse,” he admits, “but I’m totally trusting the Lord to show me how to do the things I need to do.”
‘If Texas falls, the country falls’
Pomeroy filed paperwork for a senate run last week and formally announced his Republican candidacy for District 21 after worship yesterday. “If I can bring civility and godliness and help stymie the downward spiraling of the great state of Texas,” he says, “that’s what I’m choosing to try to do.” The pastor adds that “morality and integrity” are “disappearing rapidly”—especially within the Democratic Party—and that “if Texas falls, the country falls.”
After the massacre at his church, Pomeroy says, he began having more conversations about tough issues such as guns. And after the El Paso shooting, he was upset when some people politicized the tragedy. “There was so much salt poured into that wound, and the wound was tragic enough,” he says. “I feel like something needed to be brought to the conversation, like civility and real intelligent discourse.”
District 21, which extends hundreds of miles from Austin to the U.S.-Mexico border, is solidly Democratic. Pomeroy faces incumbent Democrat Judith Zaffirini, who’s been in office since 1987. After the pastor spoke Sunday about declining morals, Zaffirini said she was “very surprised to hear such a harsh comment coming from a pastor.” She knows Pomeroy as “a man of integrity,” she adds, and plans to engage with him “respectfully,” as she would with any challenger.
‘Faith sustained us,’ After Texas Church Shooting, says Pomeroy
On Saturday, Pomeroy participated in a panel at a mental health conference in San Antonio, sharing how his congregation survived and thrived after the shooting. “The church was the center of the community in many ways,” he said. “And because of that, the entire community put faith beyond themselves. In the midst of that tragedy, that faith sustained us, and…that faith [is] helping us to grow.” Earlier this year, First Baptist dedicated a new building, declaring that “evil did not win.”
People who are hurting should hope in God, not in others, Pomeroy told conference attendees. “Without hope, there is no life.” The pastor requested continued prayers for all shooting survivors so they know they’re not alone.
His congregation’s goal, Pomeroy says, is to be there for other people. Victim advocate Katy Quinney, a responder in Sutherland Springs, says they’re succeeding. “They are the most faithful people I’ve ever met in my life,” she said Saturday. “That resonates from the inside of that church out into the entire community.”