Published Jan 24, 2023
FRESNO, Ca – Leaders from across the California Southern Baptist Convention are reacting to the news of a mass shooting that occurred Saturday evening, January 21, at a Lunar New Year Festival in Monterey Park, a suburb of Los Angeles. Every leader from across California’s diverse landscape is grief-stricken and setting eyes toward Christ as the Great Healer.
Victor Chayasirisobhon, President of the California Southern Baptist Convention, shared, “As someone with Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese descent, I was horrified and saddened by this terrible shooting that took place on a day that is supposed to be about joy and love and family and unity. Our hearts go out to the victims of these shootings. The love of a family is especially important so, as a community, we can get through difficult times like these. Our leadership is looking for ways to support and love these families.”
Pete Ramirez, Executive Director of the California Southern Baptist Convention, said, “We live in a world where there are people who are hurting. Tragedies like these remind us that people need the gospel and the hope we only have in Jesus. My heart is broken, and we are committed to pray for every family that lost a loved one and for those dealing with the trauma of this incident.”
From San Francisco, the Executive Director of the Chinese Baptist Fellowship of the United States and Canada (CBF), Amos Lee, also expressed deep sympathy, “It is with shock and great sadness that we witness the tragedy of 10 innocent lives being lost to a senseless fit of rage by an individual in Monterey Park, California. Our condolences to the families who have lost loved ones. These are troubled times we live in. Let us stand with our community and reach out to the families with the love and hope that we have in Jesus Christ.”
Kevin James, President of the California Chapter of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention (NAAF), said, “The African American Fellowship is grieved by the news of the killing of our brothers in Christ and we are lifting them up in prayer. We stand with them, opposing all violence against all people groups because we know every person is made in the image of God. We are here to support them in any way that we can, and we will be praying for the victims and for the Asian community as a whole.”
Wilson Tsoi, who serves as the President of the Southern California Chinese Baptist Association, shared, “We were shocked and saddened by the happenings in Alhambra and Monterey Park last Saturday evening. On behalf of the Southern California Chinese Baptist Association (SCCBA), We firmly stand against using violent force to resolve any conflict or release stress.
As churches and as followers of Jesus Christ in this local community, our hearts are filled with pain for those who lost their family members and for those wounded and hospitalized. Many of us are still in shock and seeking comfort. We want to humbly walk with everyone and introduce the King of Peace, our Jesus Christ, to you. Feel free to contact one of us. It would be a privilege to walk with you and your families during this time.”
Thanh Le Church’s Pastor, Timothy Phan also spoke with CSBC, saying, “What a terrible, heartbreaking, and disturbing tragedy. We feel it so close to home. On a day the neighbors, especially the Asian community, were supposed to embrace and wish each other a happy Lunar New Year, they instead had to say goodbye to their loved ones unexpectedly. This should not have happened….We pray for the families of the deceased and the community. We need each other during this time…”
Francis Chung, Missions Initiative Director at CSBC, encourages believers to join together, united in prayer. He shares:
“Let’s unite our hearts together to pray. Pray for families who have lost their loved ones that they will be comforted, and for the wounded that they will have a speedy recovery. Pray for whoever will be affected, that faith will overcome fear, and for the community that it will know the love and reconciliation of Christ.” Chung concludes, “And pray for our churches that we will know how to reach out to those who are hurt, be a people of peace, be in constant prayer for the neighborhoods and communities we live in, and be faithful in sharing the eternal hope that can be found only in Jesus.”