Thursday, September 24
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Global Week of Action against Gun Violence / Season of Peace
Action against Gun Violence
Minute for Mission
In 2009, Heeding God’s Call, a multifaith movement working at the grass roots to reduce the misuse of weapons across the United States, was launched. A key moment in the PC(USA)’s work to reduce gun violence was its adoption at the 219th General Assembly (2010) of Gun Violence, Gospel Values: Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call, a report calling for a “spiritual awakening” strategy to be led by the church and involve entire communities. Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly, mentions Heeding God’s Call in his introduction to the report, noting the efforts of faith-based groups in “local education and organizing efforts to prevent irresponsible gun sales at shops or gun shows.”
For several years, Heeding God’s Call has held hourlong protests the fourth Monday of every month in front of Realco Guns in District Heights, Maryland, with participants joining in from the greater DC area. The aim of the protests is to encourage compliance with a 10-point code of conduct. The code, based on a partnership agreement between Walmart, the nation’s leading retailer of guns, and the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, is intended to diminish straw buying (purchasing guns for others) and the illegal trafficking it supports. Rev. James Atwood, and more recently Lisa Delity assisted by Gail Golden, are coordinating the protests. The group recommends that concerned citizens read Atwood’s America and Its Guns: a Theological Exposé.
The protests before Realco Guns continue monthly. The Heeding God’s Call Greater Washington chapter’s Memorial to the Lost, for the 2014 victims of gun violence in the DC area, displays T-shirts with the name, age, and date of death for each victim. The memorial is being installed on church lawns throughout the area.
In response to the 20 children and six adults who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012, Heeding God’s Call launched another protest, held at 10:00 a.m. on the 14th of every month at the headquarters of the National Rifle Association in Fairfax, Virginia.
—John T. Mathison, national board member, Heeding God’s Call
Let us join in prayer for
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
We thank you, God, for forgiving those who abuse weapons. We pray for love and compassion as revealed through your Son, our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.