HOLIDAY, Fla. (WFLA) – When Pastor Andre Erasmus of the Trinity Crosspoint Church in Holiday heard about the mass shooting at a church in Texas, all he could do was pray. He says small congregations are much different than larger ones.
“In a small church like that and like ours here, it’s not just parishioners, it’s family. And that’s heartbreaking,” said Erasmus. “Twenty-six of your family, 26 of your family taken away at the same time. It’s so heartbreaking.”
The church held its regular men’s bible study on Monday night and opened with a prayer.
“And let us never forget those people that are in mourning tonight in Texas.”
After news of the shooting broke, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office made the decision to beef up patrols around places of worship around the county.
Spokeswoman Amy Marinec says there has been no threat to any, the move is merely a proactive one.
“We just want to reassure everbody that the community is safe, we are there, we are approachable,” said Marinec. “We’d like you to engage with our deputies.”
Pastor Erasmus is thankful the sheriff’s office is taking a proactive approach, and plans to thank Sheriff Chris Nocco.
“You know, just the presence of a patrol car makes a big difference,” he said.
Jerry Bailie attends Trinity Crosspoint and is concerned how other church members will act during upcoming services.
Will they be nervous? Will they be looking over their shoulders?
Bailie is hopeful visitors will still be welcomed with open arms.
“That’s what we’re here for is to bring people in and to teach them about the Gospel and to save them and get them to know Jesus,” said Bailie. “But in this day and age, it becomes difficult because you don’t know who’s going to come through that door.”
Pastor Erasmus believes those who commit terrible acts like the one in Texas are attempting to create an environment where good people live in fear. He hopes members of his congregation and others will rely more heavily on faith rather than fear.
“We lean on the promises of our God, and really, the enemy wants to instill fear in us. and we don’t want to have fear, either.”
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