In response to the growing number of demonstrations following the funeral of Freddy Gray who died tragically in Baltimore, Maryland, the Administration of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, issued the following statement on April 28, 2015:
«The Seventh-day Adventist church in North America is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Freddy Gray and the heartache it has caused his family and the Baltimore community. We extend our deepest condolences and continue to pray for his family.
In order to bring about change, we must engage in open, honest, civil, and productive conversation about the rights and equality of every member of our community. We pray that peace will prevail, for violence will only begat violence. To bring a lasting peace we, as a Church Community, must also descend on Baltimore with the love and compassion that Jesus modeled for us, not just now, during this time of turmoil, but in the years to come.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church stands ready to provide any and all resources necessary to help transform an oppressed, hopeless people into a vibrant, thriving community filled with hope.
We pray for the many citizens and clergy from various denominations including Adventist members that are participating in non-violent marches, encouraging peace. Pastor David Franklin, Miracle Temple Adventist Church; Pastor Reginald Exum, Edmonton Heights Adventist Church; and Pastor DuWayne Privette, Sharon Seventh-day Adventist Church have embodied love and compassion, taking to the streets to call for a non-violent solution.
The North American Division Adventist Community Services, the Columbia Union of Seventh-day Adventists, and the Allegheny East, and Chesapeake Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists, will lead a group of volunteers that will join the West Baltimore community in cleanup efforts, tentatively scheduled for tomorrow morning. Pray for these volunteers.
We admonish that those on either side of this conversation will strive to speak with peace, love, and grace.
We once again pray for the day when all of God’s children will treat each other without suspicion, bias, and hatred. As the Apostle Paul reminds us: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.»
Hours before the Baltimore riots began Monday, April 27, mourners filled the 2,500-capacity New Shiloh Baptist church to attend Freddie Gray’s funeral.
According to most recent media reports, it was one of the most volatile outbreaks of violence prompted by a police-involved death in the United States since the days of protests that followed the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed during a confrontation with a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in summer 2014.
At least 15 officers were hurt in Baltimore, including six who remained hospitalized on April 27, police said. Two dozen people were arrested. A weeklong, daily curfew was imposed beginning April 28 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., the mayor said, and Baltimore public schools were closed on April 28.