A prayer from Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, executive director of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies:
We send our collective prayers to God as fellow citizens and a faith community on behalf of the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, FL, and their families. We pray also for the people of Orlando, law enforcement and all first responders.
God of grace and mercy, hear our prayers on behalf of all who suffer violence, anguish, pain and grief. We pray for comfort, grace, and healing in the wake of these unspeakable horrors, in God’s Holy Name.
Dr. Susan Gillies, interim general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, said,
“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. But 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.”
Virginia Holmstrom, executive director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries, said,
“I grieve for mothers and fathers and families and friends of those loved ones who were killed and injured in Orlando by a gunman armed with hatred. I grieve at the easy access of assault weapons in our nation. I grieve at judgmental conclusions that will yield to Islamophobia and homophobia. This day tests the faith of God’s people. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’ This is the day to disarm the perpetual cycles of violence with the light and love of Christ. Let it begin with you and me.”