Praying for Peace, Remembering All Hurt by Gun Violence

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the leading proponents and practitioners of nonviolence in the United States.

He died in an act of gun violence.

SDC10568_2 On January 18, 2010, an interfaith vigil took place in Richmond, Virginia to honor Dr. King, to pray for peace, to remember all those hurt by gun violence, and to declare the participants' intentions to work to end gun violence. The vigil was sponsored by the Virginia Center for Public Safety. Participants gathered around eighty roses – one for each child, teen, or youth who is killed by gun violence in Virginia each year (on average).

The vigil (Download MLK Day Vigil bulletin) included a lie-in, readings from the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., prayers from various faith traditions, an opportunity to write the names of those killed or injured by gun violence on paper hearts and to remember them aloud, a time to share stories and testimonials, and a litany using the words of "On Addressing the Tragedy of America's Gun Violence," a statement of the 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The Rev. Mark Koenig of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program wrote the litany.

For the creative, courageous witness of those who planned and took part in this vigil, thanks be to God.

For others who are engaged in efforts to end gun violence, thanks be to God.

That more of us may engage in this task, God have mercy.

The Richmond vigil provides a model that others can use across the country. All are welcome to use the litany from the Peacemaking Program in similar events or worship services.

The photo is provided by Kaye Tice.

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