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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Minute for Mission: National Gun Violence Awareness Day

 

June 7, 2024

(provided)

You might have noticed that more people are wearing orange lately. This is not a fashion trend but a movement that began in 2013 as a grief response by friends of a young victim of gun violence. It has grown into a national day, then weekend, then month (of June) to raise awareness about the horrific cost of gun violence. Towns and cities, schools and churches, individuals and clubs are urging us all to wear the bright color that hunters have long worn for safety. It is one small step in bending the moral arc of the universe toward justice.

But small steps build momentum. Presbyterians have consistently been voices crying in the wilderness of a nation awash in guns that claims too many lives. In 2010, General Assembly unanimously passed “Gun Violence, Gospel Values” in response to the almost 30,000 people who were being killed by guns. At that time, there had been eight prior actions by our denomination as well as multiple statements from other denominations. But statements, however compelling, are not enough. The numbers kept increasing — last year almost 43,000 died by bullets, more than half of them suicides.

In 2022, General Assembly acted again, but this time stepped up our response. An overwhelming majority of commissioners voted in a Decade to End Gun Violence that will engage our church “at all levels,” especially local churches. Funds have been made available for grants to congregations. In fact, so far eight congregations have been approved for grants to organize “Guns to Gardens” programs, a campus forum, a youth podcast on gun violence, educational programs and advocacy efforts. A documentary is being made of faith-based efforts; worship resources and training are being developed; advocacy for reform of gun policies is being promoted at local, state and federal levels; and suicide prevention programs are being created.

These are small, but faithful steps toward bending the arc. What can you do to help protect all those beloved by God?

Katie Day, Member of the Decade to End Gun Violence Team

Today’s Focus: National Gun Violence Awareness Day

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
John Jones, Dishwasher, Stony Point Center, Presbyterian Mission Agency 
Jose Jones, Mission co-worker, Democratic Republic of Congo, World Mission, Presbyterian Mission Agency 

Let us pray

Loving God, Prince of Peace,  we pray this day for those who have been victims of gun violence: for lives that have been lost, bodies that have been injured, families forever changed and communities disrupted. Like Rachel, who cannot be consoled as she weeps for her children who have been lost, keep our hearts tender to this pain. We also pray for courageous hearts as we work for an end to the epidemic of violence. Give us hope, knowing that you never give up on your children. Amen.