The tragedy of gun violence

From the DioCal Archdeacons

We have faced a summer of heartbreak and violence, and in July Bishop Marc Andrus called on us, the people of the Diocese of California, to work for justice and peace, even in our grief and pain. Bishop Marc asked the deacons of our diocese, those who have a special ministry under their bishop, to begin organizing this work in the world, particularly related to police use of force and gun violence. We are at the beginning of this work. As we approach the fall after the wrenching summer we have experienced, we, your archdeacons, wanted to outline for the people of the diocese what we have learned thus far.

We have been struck by the fact that many members of our community, together with people of faith outside of The Episcopal Church, are deeply engaged in these justice issues. We realized that it might be helpful to outline for all of us the efforts that are underway, so that the people of our diocese can know where to engage, and how. In that spirit, we have the gathered together the work that we have learned about. There are no doubt ministries and programs and initiatives of which we are unaware; we look forward to hearing about those and adding them to our collective list.

We offer these in three categories that are interrelated and in which we hope each of us can find a way to engage: Becoming informed/voting; “showing up” as a community of faith in the world; and praying for peace.

Becoming informed/voting

Issues of police use of force and gun violence are complex and wrenching. A first step for many of us is to becoming informed. There are many resources available, and we point out just a few to get started. What if everyone who read this article clicked these links?

As voters, it’s important for us to understand the legislation and policy that is before us. There are at least 5 criminal justice reform ballot measures coming up in our November election, and we need to inform ourselves on these. All Saints, San Leandro is hosting a public forum on these measures on October, and we’ll have more information on that soon.

“Showing up” as a community of faith in the world

Many of us grew up with the hymn “They will know we are Christians by our love” and we are called now more than ever to live into this commitment. Vigils, concerts, and community events of all kinds are important. There are several such events scheduled for this fall:

  • Every week there are Night Walks: gatherings with the key message “We care. Stop the violence.” Information on the Mission Night Walks can be obtained from missionnightwalks.org; information on the East Bay Night Walks can be obtained from paula.hawthorn@gmail.com.

Other events:

Praying for Peace

Prayer is our foundation and our source of hope and strength. We are called to pray for peace and unity. The deacons of the diocese will be writing Prayers of the People that will be offered each month for us to pray together as a diocese. In the meantime, we offer a litany for gun violence.

 

We are, as we mentioned above, at the very beginning of this work. We invite our community to come together to make a difference as people of faith who long deeply for peace. We look forward to hearing about your thoughts, ideas and plans.

You can email us about other resources and offerings to add to our list at margaretd@diocal.org and davids@diocal.org