The people of the United States have been witness to too many public and private shootings. Statistics show us that there are about 80 deaths daily by shooting, ten of which are children. That does not even account for injury by shooting. Recent public shootings have been top news stories for some time.
Our Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, sent out a statement in February of this year saying that “Far too many lives have been cut short or maimed by both random and targeted acts of gun violence.” She goes on to say that “the Spirit is moving across this land to mobilize people of faith to act.” Jefferts Schori urges all Episcopalians to contact our federal legislators to express our concern and our expectation that gun violence be addressed.
Additionally, at the Episcopal General Convention in 2012, Resolution D003 was passed. It calls for all Episcopal churches and diocesan buildings to be gun free zones. In January 2013, our Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) wrote the Vestry of Grace Church requesting that Grace Episcopal Church declare itself to be a gun free zone. To date, we have received no response.
Currently, our nation is in a great debate over both gun violence and gun control. We urge you to prayerfully give consideration to these issues. We recommend the following actions: 1) Contact your federal legislators and let them know as a constituent and an Episcopalian where you stand on these issues. Our EPF position is to ask our legislators to support policies that will change the culture of violence in our country. We seek universal background checks, a ban on the sale of military assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and better access to mental health services. 2) Contact our Vestry and let them know whether or not you support Grace Church declaring itself to be a gun free zone.
We end with a quote by our Presiding Bishop. “We believe all God’s people should be able to live in peace, as Zechariah dreams, ‘old men and women shall again sit in the streets…And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing.’ The prophet reminds his hearers that even if this seems impossible, with God it is not. [Zech 8:4-6]”