Prayer and Action, Faced with Gun Violence

PRAYER SONG   God, Our Nation Feels the Loss (to the tune of PILOT, “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me” UMH #509)

God, our nation feels the loss as our children pay the cost
for the violence we accept, for the silence we have kept.
We weep for children gone; God of love, this can’t go on!

Jesus, Lord, we hear you say, “No more of this!” “No more of this!”
We too shout and say, “Enough!” May we build a world of love –
till the sounds of weapons cease, till our young can grow in peace.

Adapted from the original text by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.

 

PRAYER

Faced with gun violence, we grieve, O Lord, for those are killed and those whose lives are forever changed; we seek to comfort for those who have lost loved ones; we pray for a change of heart for those who resort to violence.  Faced with gun violence, may we answer your calling and Educate; Organize; Advocate; and in all the ways we can, work for that day when weapons of destruction are transformed into instruments of healing.  May it be so.  May we so do. In your name, Amen.

 

PRAYER SONG  Wounded World that Cries for Healing (The Faith We Sing #2177)
Wounded world that cries for healing — here we hold each other’s pain,
wounded systems, bruised and bleeding bear the load, the scars of strain;
dollars ration out compassion, hard decisions rule the day,
Jesus of the healing Spirit, free us to another way!

Through our nation’s spent frustration, through the corridors of stress
may there move a kindlier wisdom all may feel, and all may bless;
tax and tithe are for a purpose shared to shield the poor and weak:
past the symptoms of our sickness let the voice of justice speak.

Honor those whose loving spirit nurses hope, restores and heals,
towel and basin used in service like the Christ who comes and kneels;
in the tending, in the mending may we see the right and fair,
in our common quest for wholeness heal each other by our care.

 

CHURCH LEADERS’ VOICES

Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, Wisconsin Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church

Bishop Thomas Bickerton, President, Council of Bishops

Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Board of Church and Society, UMC

 

RESOURCES FOR EDUCATION & ADVOCACY

Tell the Senate to Act to Prevent Gun Violence (Urgent, as of the first week of June)

UMC General Conference (2016 Resolution #3428) Our Call to End Gun Violence 

Wisconsin Conference of The UMC (2018 Resolution) A Call to Action on Gun Violence

For Congregational Study, Kingdom Dreams, Violent Realities (based on Micah 4:1-4) UMC Resource. Who Is My Neighbor (multigenerational conversations on faith and gun violence) WCC Resource.

Interfaith Vigil Against Gun Violence, Madison WI on May 31

Members of faith communities gathered across the state to honor the lives of those lost to gun violence and to call for action from leaders to find solutions to build safer communities.
As children blew bubbles and colored with chalk, they were “a vivid reminder of the stake they have in this.” 
The gathered crowd heard stories of parenting and vulnerability and a heartbreaking story of a teacher having to clarify which mass shooting they would be mourning that day. Cantor Jacob Neimi led those present in a beautiful, sung refrain “We will not step aside anymore, anymore, we will not step aside anymore…until our children can be free.” 
Dr Karen Menendez-Coller reminded the gathering, “Let us not forget that kids of color, black kids, latinx kids, see kind of violence from guns every single day in our neighborhoods. So if we’re going to change things, let this be a holistic change. Let us do it together, the right way….” and the evening ended with a call to action centered in Micah 6:8: “Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God” and prayer.

 

PHONE MESSAGE TO THE CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and give the names of the senators/representatives you want to talk to. Find the phone numbers of the Wisconsin State Assembly members here.

I urge you to use the power of your office to pass more stringent legislation on firearm sales, background checks, and waiting periods.

I believe that the prevention of gun violence is not about partisanship or politics. It is about keeping people alive and protecting human rights. 

 

SAMPLE LETTER TO FEDERAL LEGISLATORS
from The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection

Dear Member of Congress,

Thank you for the work you do every day on behalf of the American people and on my behalf as my Representative.

Last week we all grieved as 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. We shared that grief as Republicans and Democrats. You likely know that since January 1, 2022 there have been 27 shootings at schools across America. Some were suicides. Some were children who accidentally discharged guns, and some were teens who took their guns to school with the intent to kill. Twenty-seven school shootings.

Congress has united around solving major problems in the past. You’ve been bi-partisan in your support for Ukraine, spending billions to help Ukraine fend off Russia. What could be possible if Republicans and Democrats saw the deaths of these children in Uvalde, Texas, as a chance to address this issue together? This is our moonshot, our chance to solve a problem and make the world a better place.

To that end, I write to encourage bi-partisan efforts to reduce school shootings focused on:

Research Funding Focused on Reducing Violence Committed by and against Children: We can address this problem, but it will take bi-partisan support of serious research identifying root causes of this violence and practical solutions to address this problem.
· Please increase funding for research at the federal level on causes of and actions that can be taken to reduce violence committed by young adults, and against children and teens.

Responsible Gun Storage: The largest number of gun deaths each year are suicides, often with young adults using guns owned by their parents. In addition, there are children who find guns and inadvertently harm themselves.
· Please pass legislation requiring guns be stored with a trigger lock in place. This will help prevent needless deaths and the misuse of guns in a home.

Licensure & Training: Permit laws are the single most effective way to reduce gun violence. States with permit laws of any kind have less gun violence than those without.
· Please provide incentives to states where permit and training laws already exist, and to those where they are expanded, or are enacted.

Background Checks: Background checks are among the easiest laws to thwart through private party sales, straw man sales and some gun shows and trading of weapons.
· Please establish processes and upgrade technology to help states share this information seamlessly and quickly to maximize public safety.

We can do something about this. These are our nation’s children. You have the power, as legislators, to leave a legacy of safer schools and better policies to protect the lives of our children. I’m pleading with you to please act.

Sincerely,

 

 

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