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John Upton’s Statement on this Week’s Violence

Henrico, Va., – July 8, 2016 – The continued racial violence in our nation, manifested most recently in Dallas, Saint Paul, and Baton Rouge, leaves me and Virginia Baptists deeply and profoundly saddened. Our hearts grieve for the victims of these senseless acts of anger and hatred. We mourn with the families as they experience the pain of sudden and irrevocable loss.

In addition to loving God, Jesus commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves, calling us to practice this love no matter how difficult the circumstances. Emotional reactions and broad generalizations are all too tempting in times such as these, yet we are reminded that these two commandments are inextricably intertwined. The way forward is marked by this love.

As we fervently lift our prayers for victims of violence, it is my hope that Virginia Baptists will also come together and discern concrete ways to reflect and demonstrate this powerful and life-changing love with our neighbors, seeking reconciliation by extending forgiveness, offering hospitality, and working towards peace.

John V. Upton, Jr.
BGAV Executive Director

The Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) is a cooperative missions and ministry organization that consists of over 1,400 autonomous churches in the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as churches from Seoul, South Korea, Toronto, Ontario, the District of Columbia, and the states of California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.