Quilt raffle ends and the Urban Peace Collaboration is begun

Members and friends of the diocesan Task Force for Action Against Gun Violence (diocal.org/urbanpeace) completed an energetic fundraising effort to support the hiring of an intern, whose primary responsibility will be to help start a new diocesan program, the Urban Peace Collaboration. The intern will serve for 10 months. 

The Task Force for Action Against Gun Violence is a Christian response to the gun violence epidemic that is devastating communities in the Diocese of California and in the United States. Many factors have caused this epidemic, and there are many groups working to end it. The Urban Peace Collaboration, a new program of the Diocese of California, is modeled on the Diocese of Massachusetts program, B-Peace for Jorge. The intention is not to form a separate, gun violence prevention organization, but to work in partnership with existing neighborhood organizations. 

Among other tasks, the hired intern will help discern which organizations will be best for partnering with. Drawing on the DioMass model, the intern will talk with congregations and existing organizations to identify the best fit in order to bridge the interests of congregations and organizations. At the end of the 10-month process, the Task Force expects to have a functioning program in place that includes ongoing partnerships between congregations and community organizations and ultimately embodies love for their neighbors.

The Task Force has hired Em Kianka to work as their intern for the next ten months. Em, a transplant from the East Coast, has previous experience working as a community organizer and doing faith‐based outreach. Her past work has been around gun violence, voter registration, interfaith activism, and immigration. She graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut in 2013, and spent the last year serving at a substance abuse treatment center for teenagers through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. Em is excited to spend her year helping to launch the Urban Peace Collaboration.

The Urban Peace Collaboration is already off to a great start. The quilt raffle (quilt made by Paula Hawthorn) and fundraising drive raised $15,000. A member of St. James, San Francisco won the quilt, and thanks go to Holy Innocents’, San Francisco; St. John’s, Oakland; St. Mark’s, Berkeley; St. Paul’s, Oakland; St. Giles, Moraga; St. Timothy’s, Danville; St. James, San Francisco; and Christ Church Sei Ko Kai, San Francisco, who were all especially supportive. 

The Task Force was very happy to see that St. Paul’s, Oakland; Christ Church Sei Ko Kai, San Francisco; and St. Giles, Moraga contributed directly from their outreach funds.  Urban Peace Collaboration now a web page on the diocesan website at http://www.diocal.org/urbanpeace, and the Task Force is organizing a St. Francis Day Convocation on October 4 at St. Francis’, San Francisco. The Convocation will include an interfaith panel of speakers, a march to the statue of St. Francis of the Guns, and closing prayers. The Task Force is continuing to raise money to cover the expense of hiring buses to bring people to the convocation. Read more about the convocation here.

If you would like to contribute to this effort, please send checks payable to: Diocese of California (notation Task Force for Action Against Gun Violence) to Davey Gerhard, Episcopal Diocese of California, 1055 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 94108 or donate online and note that this is for the Task Force.