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Dear People of Christ,
Gun violence is now striking our people dead in rapid succession. Last Friday, in response to the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre – the largest mass killing of Jewish citizens in our nation’s history – I joined with our governor, senators, and other governmental and faith leaders at the Jewish Community Center in Baltimore to be in solidarity with the victims and their families, to pray together, and to express our love and care for each other.
Our people are dying. No region, no community, is immune to the spreading virus of violence. There have been mass shootings in Florida and Kentucky. Two days ago twelve people were struck dead by an active shooter in a night club in California. And just yesterday two people were shot, one of them killed, on the campus of one of our two Episcopal historically black colleges in the country – Voorhees College in South Carolina.
People are carrying guns to protect themselves, in the hopes of protecting others. This will surely lead to more death. Our people are dying at the hands of armed citizens. We cannot continue to allow the second amendment to supersede the second commandment of making for ourselves any idols. Nor the sixth commandment against murder. Nor the baptismal promise we make to seek and serve Christ in all persons.
We must pray, we must vote, we must advocate. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. But this, my people, I know: prayer works. Taking time to set your intentions on Christ, on true love for neighbor, and on treasuring every one of God’s people, does matter. Without it we are lost in despair. To pray in love, rather than going to get a gun (or more guns, or more lethal firearms) in fear, works. It grounds and surrounds us in love and calls us to work for the betterment of our society.
Pray intentionally. Pray. And then ACT in love, not fear, from that prayer.
In Christ’s love,
A statement from our bishop on recent gun violence. You can find resources for prayer, liturgy and action, as well as a public statement from Bishops United Against Gun Violence, at (http://bishopsagainstgunviolence.org/). For The Episcopal Church advocacy resources and opportunities, see The Episcopal Public Policy Network (advocacy.episcopalchurch.org) and Maryland Episcopal Public Policy Network. Please join together in your communities and pray, discern, act. #buagv Episcopalians Against Gun Violence #CommunityofLove #notfear #benotafraid #love #pray