VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/1/19)—Twelve people were killed in a mass shooting on Friday, May 31 at the municipal center in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Four people were injured and were treated at hospitals. The suspect, a longtime employee, also died in a gun battle with police, according to news reports. Across the country, American Baptist churches and their members are reacting to this tragedy with concern, prayers and condolences.
Eighteen months ago, American Baptist Churches USA chose Virginia Beach as the site for its 2019 Biennial Mission Summit and associated board meetings (June 17-23). During our upcoming stay in Virginia Beach, American Baptists will find appropriate ways to acknowledge the tragedy through prayers offered and by other means, in order to extend our deepest sympathies and support to the residents of the city.
“We grieve with the families that have lost loved ones in Virginia Beach,” said Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA. “Communities across our country have suffered from mass shootings over the past several years, and we must rise above partisan divides to promote solutions to such violence and carnage. Virginia Beach is a wonderful community. We hope that our presence will facilitate healing and serve as a visible expression of our care and concern for the victims of the attack and the city as a whole.”
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.