Standing Our Holy Ground

A Year-Long Look at Gun Violence and What the Faith Community Can Do About It

93 people are killed by guns each day in this country, totaling almost 34,000 deaths annually.

This is a public health crisis. Seven of these deaths – every day – are children or teens. This is a youth crisis. Since the Columbine High School massacre there has been an average on one school or college campus shooting per week. This is an education crisis. 62% of gun-related deaths each year are suicides.

This is a mental health crisis. More than 50 women are murdered each month by intimate partners using guns. This is a domestic violence crisis. Individuals in households experiencing poverty experience 4x the rate of gun violence in comparison to households living above the federal poverty line. This is a poverty crisis. African American men are 14x more likely to be shot and killed than White men. This is a racism crisis. Gun violence in this country does not distinguish between demographics – it impacts every socioeconomic group, every faith and cultural community, every education level, every region. It is a true social justice crisis, and it demands both our holy outrage and our holy action.

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in collaboration with the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, offers Standing Our Holy Ground, a year-long webinar series that challenges the faith community to stand up against this far-reaching crisis of our day.  Touching on a large variety of topics and utilizing those at the forefront of the work and research, this comprehensive webinar series delves deeply into the epidemic of gun violence and explores the ways in which people of faith and the communities to which they belong can respond and act to bring about change. 

Each 1-hour webinar is free to view and features knowledgeable and experienced presenters, provides time for questions from viewers and suggests actionable steps to be taken following the webinar.   The series begins on July 17th, broadcast from the Presbyterian Youth Triennium at Purdue University.  Subsequent webinars will be held monthly.  The dates, times and topics of all webinars will be posted below as they are confirmed.  Each webinar is being recorded and will be available for viewing on the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s website. 

#1 Young People and Campuses Stand Up to Gun Violence

There is an average of one school or college campus shooting each and every week in the United States. This episode was broadcast live from the Presbyterian Youth Triennium and features a panel of young people and adults – activists, experts and those impacted by gun violence – who are working to address this national epidemic and make our campuses and communities safer.

Featuring: Captain Keene Red Elk (Purdue University Police Department), Kaaleah Jones (Youth Activist, Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence), and the BRAVE Youth Leaders of St. Sabina (Youth Activists)

Click here to learn more about the panelists.

 #2 The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence in Urban Contexts

Twenty percent of all firearm homicides in the U.S. occur in the country’s 25 largest cities, even though they contain just over one-tenth of the U.S. population. The Presbyterian Church (USA)-produced documentary Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence examines the ripple effect that one shooting has on a survivor, family, community, and society. This episode was broadcast as part of the PC(USA)’S Big Tent Gathering, following a screening of Trigger. The discussion features a panel of Baltimore area residents including clergy, police officers, and activists working to address the gun violence in the city they call home.

Featuring: Rev. Cleoda Walker (Baltimore Pastor and clergy to Safe Streets Violence Interrupters), Major Monique Brown (Commander of the Southern District, Baltimore City Police) and Amy Cress (Director of Community Engagement, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence).

Click here to learn more about the panelists.

#3 The Theological Grounding for Our Church’s Policies on Gun Violence

September 25, 2pm – 3pm EST: Register Here

How does our reformed faith tradition understand gun violence, prevention, and gun ownership? This episode of Standing Our Holy Ground explores the theology around guns and the most recent policy of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Gun Violence, Gospel Values: Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call.

Featuring: Rev. Christian Iosso (Coordinator for the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, PCUSA) and Rev. Jim Atwood (Presbyterian Pastor and Author on Gun Violence Prevention)

Click here to learn more about the panelists.