Continuing God’s Work to End Gun Violence as We Head Home
Diocese of Utah Bishop Scott Hayashi said in an Episcopal News Service article on June 28, “I think sometimes we in The Episcopal Church make bold statements, and we don’t necessarily do anything about them.” Bishop Hayashi supports the resolutions about gun violence prevention coming to General Convention but followed that affirmation by saying that “if you really want our government to act, then you have to create a groundswell.”
Building on the momentum of the Bishops Against Gun Violence march Sunday morning through the streets downtown Salt Lake City and the small group conversation about next steps that followed it, I can confidently say that it is time for that groundswell. There is much work do to once we leave Salt Lake City and you can easily identify one or more ways to get involved. Outlined below (in no particular order) are a few steps you can take locally as we work together to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country.
1. If you are a gun owner, securely store all guns in your home. If you are a parent, ask about unsecured guns in the home before your child visits someone else’s house. I ask before play dates, church dinners and also babysitting jobs; it’s not as awkward of a conversation as you might think. Take the pledge to always ask about unsecured guns at www.askingsaveskids.org
2. Encourage your worshipping community to become a gun free zone and post notices in all entrances stating that guns are not welcome.
3. Use the Episcopal Peace Fellowship Gun Violence Prevention curriculum as an individual or in a small group to explore the issues of gun violence as they affect your community and congregation. Available for sale online at epfstore.myshopify.com
4. Write a letter to the editor in your local paper to keep the need for sane gun laws in the public eye. Use it as an opportunity to educate readers and your legislators on lax gun laws. To learn about the gun laws in your state visit www.smartgunlaws.org
5. Write and visit your state legislators and lobby for laws and policies that would prevent gun violence.
6. Visit the Diocese of Connecticut’s Challenging Violence page; it’s full of resources that are pastoral and educational, as well as full of advocacy tools.
See if your bishop is a member of Bishops Against Gun Violence. If they are members, ask how you can support them in their call to advocate for policies that would reduce gun violence. If they aren’t members, encourage them to join this network of bishops: bishopsagainstgunviolence.org
- Allison Liles, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Executive Director