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    Alliance of Baptists Grieving with Orlando

    The Alliance of Baptists expresses our profound sadness and cries out in lament in response to the tragic shooting in Orlando. We are horrified yet once again by a mass shooting and an act of domestic terror.

    We offer our prayers of care and support for all the families and friends of the ones who have been senselessly murdered and traumatically affected by this heinous act. We offer our best sense of God, rooted in our followership of Jesus, and expressed across the world’s enduring religions, that God is love and that God’s love embraces all with great care and compassion.

    We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community in Orlando, across the country, and all over the world who know all too well the violence that has been directed at them because of their sexual orientation, or their gender identity or expression, or simply because of who they love. We rise with compassion and understanding at the fear that this kind of tragedy engenders and the resurfacing of the pains of rejection, exclusion and hatefulness that often mark these kind of events.

    We also stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors who are demeaned and threatened when we equate the actions of one person with an entire faith tradition. We rise in friendship and hospitality and stand 

    firm with them in our American value of religious liberty for all people of faith or of no faith.

    In addition, we lift our voice once again for sane and sensible gun control laws and stand in solidarity with our companions at Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence as we seek to bring an end to the carnage inflicted on our country due to the easy access of guns, even as we approach the one-year anniversary of the horrific shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

    May God’s loving and weeping presence encourage our hearts as we lament this tragedy, bury our dead, heal the wounded, and calm our fears.

    May God’s clarion call to do justice embolden us as we seek to find a way forward through this bloodshed and act in ways marked by love, extravagant welcome, abundant life, fairness, equality and our deepest respect for all people, each of whom bears the image of God.

    Photo: Candles lit in remembrance at congregational partner, Watts Street Baptist Church, Durham, N.C.