Preventing gun violence is not a partisan issue; it’s not simply a matter of gun control vs. gun rights, of right vs left. This is about the lives of our people. Every year thousands are lost, many thousands more are crippled, even more are traumatized. As Christians we must stand in solidarity with those who are suffering, have suffered, and will suffer if this epidemic of violence is not ended. Christ calls us to be peacemakers, and we have the Episcopal Peace Fellowship as a vehicle for us to carry out this work together. Now we are called, and needed! This season of Lent must be our season of peace, hope and action. We can make all things new through the power of Christ’s resurrection! (Bob Lotz, Episcopal Peace Fellowship)
Here are some resources for churches to use in the fight against gun violence, compiled by community activist Ariel Miller of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming
- Bishops United Against Gun Violence is a ministry of over 70 Episcopal bishops including Bishops Breidenthal and Hollingsworth of Ohio. The website has a schedule of events taking place across the country, liturgical resources, the bishops’ statement, and data [“The Evidence link”] on the impact of prevention measures on gun violence.
- Bishop Mariann Budde of the Diocese of Washington, DC, offers this understanding of the March for Our Lives as a pivotal moment, just as the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham in 1963 was a crucial turning point for the civil rights movement.
- The Diocese of Washington has set up a March for Our Lives link packed with information about the March, the youth-led interfaith vigil at Washington Cathedral, and organizations participating. The diocese is also recruiting local families to host out-of-town participants and the website includes a link to request housing. Five of the Episcopal youth attending are survivors of the Parkland shooting, where their fellow parishioner Carmen Schentrup was killed. To contribute to help the youth and adults from St. Mary Magdalene, Coral Springs make the trip, go here and put “Youth” in the special instructions.
- March for our Lives has a search tool to find events throughout the nation and world.
- The Episcopal formation website Forma offers best practices for bringing youth and adults to a protest or march.
- Bob Lotz of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) writes, “As you prepare to march, meditate on the life and teachings of Jesus. He lives in the struggles of all people who suffer violence. In 1963 Dr Martin Luther King offered these ’10 Commandments’ for those marching in Birmingham. Let us renew them for today:”
1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
2. Remember that the non-violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation, not victory.
3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all might be free.
5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
10. Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.
7. EPF also offers Ten Ways Your Church Can Reduce Gun Violence, written by EPF Director the Rev. Allison Sandlin Liles.
8. See schools registered to participate in the National School Walk-out March 14, sponsored by the Women’s March: https://www.womensmarch.com/enough
9. National Student Walkout, sponsored by the National Education Association April 20: http://nationalschoolwalkout.us
10. Sign up for action alerts:
11. Draft legislation in Congress includes
Expand Background Checks to All Gun Sales S 2009/ HR 4240
Ban Assault Weapons & High Capacity Magazines S 2095/HR 5097
Extreme Risk Protective Order s 1212/HR 2598