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Presbyterian Peace Fellowship launches new Gun Violence Prevention Congregational Toolkit

The completely updated Toolkit is available both online and in print form

by Presbyterian Peace Fellowship | Special to Presbyterian News Service

The new Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Toolkit features a photo of a volunteer at the chop saw on Guns to Gardens Day at La Mesa Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship)

The Gun Violence Prevention Working Group of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF) has been hard at work. The team of 15 Working Group members has completely re-tooled its primary resource, the Gun Violence Prevention Congregational Toolkit. One of the few comprehensive resources for congregations on this issue, the prior Toolkit editions have been accessed by more than 2,500 Presbyterians and others from all 50 states. It was time for an update!

“The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship offers this new Toolkit,” says the PPF’s executive director, the Rev. Dr. Laurie Lyter Bright, “as an answer to our calling as Christians today. Our contribution to the Presbyterian Decade to End Gun Violence, PPF’s toolkit is unique in the landscape of gun violence prevention work. It empowers local congregations with the resources they need to learn and to take action to save lives, a task that is sacred and essential.”

The 2024 Toolkit edition offers 80 pages of educational, pastoral, emergency and worship resources, and suggestions for action and advocacy. The Action section offers case studies and color photos of local congregations engaged in projects such as Guns to Gardens, the Be SMART for Kids Campaign, advocacy for gun sense regulation and more. More than 200 links take the reader to additional resources, including PC(USA) actions and gun violence prevention national groups and local contacts in all 50 states.

One highlight of the new Toolkit edition is an all-new six-session study created by the PPF Working Group for Congregations, “Courageous Conversations on Gun Violence Prevention.” Designed to help a congregation move from initial concern about gun violence to in-depth learning to practical action, the Courageous Conversations study includes these topics for small groups: “The Citizen’s Test on Gun Violence in America”; “Getting Real about Suicide and Gun Violence”; “Guns and Domestic Violence — A Taboo Topic”; “Gun Violence, Race and Racism”; “Unmasking the Powers: Guns and Money”; and “Action: Creating a New World.”

In the Toolkit’s Introduction, PPF dedicated the new Toolkit to the late Rev. Jim Atwood and the Rev. Deanna Hollas. Atwood was a prophetic voice for many decades, calling the church to take action to prevent gun violence and to balance the rights of responsible gun owners with the right to live free from an epidemic that takes over 43,000 lives in our country each year. Hollas was the first clergy in the United States ordained to the ministry of Gun Violence Prevention. She has recently stepped away from that work to attend to family medical needs. Also on the introduction page: a beautiful color photo of Niagara Falls on “Wear Orange Weekend.” It’s an image of healing waters and hope for a nation under the daily threat of gun violence.

The Toolkit PDF is available as a free download to store on a computer desktop, or it can be ordered in the new print edition for $12 per copy, including postage. The Working Group encourages congregations to order both the print version for easy browsing and the online version for easy links and copying pages. Each Toolkit order includes a free monthly Gun Violence Prevention Congregational E-News subscription with updates on education, pastoral care and action. Find the online and print Toolkit here.

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