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Monday, June 20, 2016

American Baptist Statements Following Shooting at Pulse in Orlando, Florida

I am an American Baptist. I'm very pleased with the statements coming from my denomination, American Baptist Churches USA. We American Baptists are a diverse bunch, the most diverse denomination in the US as a matter of fact. We are equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, we come in all races, and each church has a startling level of autonomy. So, we have a wide range of views in regards to current hot button cultural issues. However, as it states in the following released, we do not wish our LGBTQ brothers and sisters to think we do not love them while we work through competing interpretations of Scripture. We most certainly do. We also cannot stand by silently while any of God's children around the globe (and big hint here, everybody is a child of God as we see it) are injured or murdered in acts of hatred. In part, this response was encouraged by American Baptist pastors across the nation writing in to the national headquarters requesting statements dealing with this tragedy and our stance directly. Speaking up really does make a difference.

Here's the latest release: http://www.abc-usa.org/2016/06/17/abc-interim-general-secretary-addresses-orlando-shooting/

A few highlights:

“We offer our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of the horrible tragedy in Orlando. We extend love to those of our family directly affected. We grieve with our American Baptist brothers and sisters who are part of the LGBTQ community. My message to them is, never mistake our debates and disagreements with the depth of our love for you as part of our family. To the rest of the ABC family my message is, even in the midst of profound disagreement, let us love as Christ loved. 
~Interim General Secretary Dr. Susan Gillies


Following Gillies remarks, Rev. Judy Fackenthal said, “As President of ABCUSA, I concur with Interim General Secretary Susan Gillies that any act of violence against any part of the human family is fully outside the vision of God’s gracious love for all people. While American Baptists may not agree on a wide variety of issues, we claim God’s love as a just and all-encompassing love. I pray for the people of Orlando, particularly the LGBTQ community as well as the Hispanic community that has been particularly affected by this horrific violence. May we work together to seek to end hate and the outcomes associated with it.”


“The events of last week hurt me deeply, as a Christian, Baptist and as a Puerto Rican,” said Dr. Josue D. Gómez-Menéndez, vice president of ABC. “At this time I would like to express my solidarity with all the people who are suffering from the effects of violence, misconceptions and separation. In the end what we discover in the depth of love is that we find our essence and human reality, our claim to the dignity of the human being and our real choice to reflect Jesus in every step.”

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