American Baptist leaders share prayers for grace, strength

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/13/16)—Following yesterday’s mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., American Baptist leaders offer prayers of healing, calling upon communities of faith to overcome hatred and violence with the power of God’s love.

“American Baptist Home Mission Societies expresses heartfelt sympathy, compassion and concern for the victims of this horrific violence, along with their loved ones and friends,” says Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, executive director. “We express solidarity with all those who are seeking understanding, consolation and healing. As fellow citizens and as a community of faith, we pray to God for grace and strength for all who suffer the anguish, pain and grief that attends these unspeakable horrors. We pray for grace and strength to reject hatred and violence in all forms, as we call upon ourselves to bring the power of God’s love to bear in overcoming the evil, inhumanity and incivility so rampant in our world today.”

Dr. Susan Gillies, interim general secretary, American Baptist Churches USA, prays for love as well: “It’s hard, at a time like this, to say ‘love conquers all,’ for in our day, it just doesn’t seem to be true. Perhaps it doesn’t seem true because the power of love hasn’t really been unleashed lately. I’m talking about the power of love inside me and you. We’ve settled for a comfortable faith, and, when we do that, we are unable to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Lord, forgive us. Thank you for those stepping forward to help and heal. May we, like they, become love.”

Both leaders ask that houses of worship across our nation open their doors in the coming days so that the church may truly be a place of prayer and reflection, extending hospitality to neighbors and communities as a sign of God’s constant love and welcome.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on leadership, discipleship and healing communities.

 American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.