Grove to host summit
Published 6:34 pm Saturday, July 18, 2015
The featured presenter during a summit at a Churchland house of worship will be the founder of a national movement working with African-American boys to encourage positive decisions regarding the law and authority.
Bishop John E. Guns, who started Operation Save Our Sons, pastors St. Paul Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He will speak at Grove Baptist Church’s Life or Death Family Summit, to be held at 7 p.m. July 21-22.
A native of Hampton Roads, Guns earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Norfolk State University and his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Divinity from Virginia Union University’s Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology.
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Melvin O. Marriner, Grove’s senior pastor, said the church felt a need to bring families together for a meaningful discussion about issues affecting them, in light of recent events in Hampton Roads and across the nation — “shootings, black-on-black crime and suicides.”
Marriner said he doesn’t think the national debate over police officer-involved shootings of blacks will lead to change. Change, he said, will come from bringing together families to address the issue and related issues in a more direct manner.
Next week’s won’t be Grove’s first special event to address the issues the black community faces, Marriner says. He cited a forum the church hosted several months ago involving commonwealth’s attorneys, radio personalities and law enforcement officers.
Two years ago, he said, a conference dealt with how to recover from crippling moments in life.
“Our approach is to preach the word of God, but not to leave it there,” Marriner said.
The church also trains adults to help youths by serving as mentors, he added.
Marriner said he advises young black men, if they are pulled over by police while driving, to keep their hands on the steering wheel and let the officer know if they are about to reach for anything.
“Even though we have police officers that we call ‘bad apples,’ and officers who don’t respect to protect and serve, I don’t think it gives us the right to be disrespectful,” he said.
“If you know that you have bad apples, then you want to make sure that you don’t do anything to aggravate that.”
Life and Death — as next week’s event is titled — is free and open to the public. Adults are encouraged to bring their children.
Grove is at 5910 W. Norfolk Road.