Rev. Dr. C. Jeff Woods, acting general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, shared the words below following recent violent and hate-filled crimes:
Unfortunately, our week has been filled with violence yet again. The consequences of hate are tragic, atrocious, and repulsive. Though the frequency of such news can tempt us toward desensitization, we must remember that the pain of such tragedy is always pronounced and prolonged for those directly involved as well as disturbing and fear-inducing for others.
I urge you to pray for and to encourage those whom you lead to pray the families of the innocent victims and police officers who rushed to help and all of those affected by the horrible act of violence [Saturday] at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill. I also encourage you to pray for those affected by other forms of attempted violence this week.
Acts of violence aimed at those who are perceived of being different or thinking differently are difficult to understand and frustratingly problematic to reduce. But, we must continue to model the love of Jesus as Christians, and as American Baptists we must continue to create space for dialogue through our Mission Summit Conversations, Baptist Talk, Civil Discourse, Space for Grace, and other forms and emphases of respectful conversation.