Life and death at Grove Baptist

Published 8:24 pm Monday, July 20, 2015

The folks at Grove Baptist Church in the Churchland section of Portsmouth have a long history of being socially active within the community served by their house of worship. At various festivals, programs, services and events in recent years, the church has dealt with tough issues ranging from hunger to breast cancer, from etiquette to money management.

The events are part of a holistic approach to the church’s mission in the community. “Our approach is to preach the word of God, but not to leave it there,” Senior Pastor Melvin O. Marriner said recently.

The church, which is located at 5910 W. Norfolk Road, is taking on another big, important topic in a two-night program starting tonight. The program, aptly called the “Life or Death Family Summit,” is focused on working with African-American boys to encourage positive decisions regarding the law and authority. Considering the devastating and final outcomes that can result from poor decisions in the midst of such interactions, the event truly could be the difference between life and death for participants.

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The summit will be led by Bishop John E. Guns, who started Operation Save Our Sons and pastors St. Paul Church in Jacksonville, Fla. 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.

“Life and Death” is free and open to the public. Adults are encouraged to bring their children. It sounds like a great ministry from a church that clearly cares about its community.