Hannah McMahanSisters and Brothers,

Over the last week we have mourned the tragic shootings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Brent Thompson, Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Smith, and Lorne Aherns.  In the midst of tragedy, it is right that we stop to remember and to pray.

Our prayers today prepare us for the work of tomorrow.

Sadly, we know that these are not likely to be the only stories we hear this summer of needless deaths and senseless violence. These are not isolated incidences but evidence of deep and systemic problems.

This week, I’ve been encouraged by the words of our New Baptist Covenant partners in Dallas, Dr. Frederick Haynes III and Dr. George Mason. The day after the shooting in their city, they published a joint op-ed calling for peace through justice and encouraged their community to unite:

We can begin by showing up for each other and praying up with each other. We come together in moments like these not because we believe that doing so solves our problems by superficial shows of solidarity, but because every act of coming together is another stitch in the torn fabric of our community.

In the past week I’ve received calls and emails from across the country from pastors who want to do the long slow work of stitching together the torn fabric of their communities. They have felt a call to repair the broken walls and restore the streets where people live.

Sometimes, we will all feel weary. But we are committed to showing you, our partners, evidences of God’s hope and activity in our world. Together, we are already making a difference.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more stories of the ways that pastors are building trust through acting in partnership, creating unity through reconciling Baptists and living out the Gospel through transforming communities.

Our Summit this September will be committed to giving pastors the tools and relationships they need to be this kind of presence for peace in a broken world.

In whatever way you are called, we are glad that you are a partner in this important work.

Grace and Peace,

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Hannah McMahan

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