As a child, we attended a small church pastored by Tony Bartolucci. It was a true church, with the congregation a part of each other’s lives. Pastor Tony preached The Word, in season and out of season.
One of the memories that I have from Tony was when we would have once-a-month Sunday Night potluck dinner, followed by a service in which Tony would preach one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons. I remember, even as a 10 year old kid, being fascinated by these sermons. From a young age, I enjoyed Spurgeon’s sermons, and I have Tony to thank for that.
Tragically, a couple of years ago, Tony and his daughter were in a car accident with an illegal immigrant. The man who hit them was drunk, and had already been deported twice, so he never should have been here in the first place.
Unfortunately, his daughter, Gianna, died several months later. Tony was left with many painful injuries. During the trial, Tony publicly forgave this man who caused such pain to this family.
Recently, Pastor Tony did an interview discussing his views on immigration. While you have many mainstream pastors on one side taking up the cause of the left, by saying that we should just let them in, and extremely conservative pastors on the other side angrily preaching to kick them all out... Tony explains his position in a loving way. He exhibits wisdom in his explanation, and I'm thankful for his willingness to discuss this most difficult issue.
I’ve always looked up to Tony, as he was one of the main pastors that I’ve seen up close being faithful to the Lord, in season and out, preaching directly from God’s Word consistently and truly shepherding the flock that God has placed him over.
Now I look up to him even more. When the most horrific thing you could possibly imagine happened to him, he’s been faithful and a testimony to the power of God through his life. He’s shown the love and grace of God, not only to those within his church, but to the man who caused this tragedy to happen: the illegal immigrant. He’s also been faithful to share the Gospel every chance possible.
And now, he and his wife have announced that they are looking to adopt a child! This shows, even more, how much God is working through them and their lives, and now they are going to be able to share that love with a child.
Tony, if you ever read this… just know that you have people praying for you. You have people who care about you. And we are all thankful for our sovereign God who loves us and is also our Comforter. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4