Gun Violence Prevention Team

The Gun Violence Prevention Team (GVP) 

The Episcopal Church has a long history of supporting common sense gun-safety legislation. General Convention has repeatedly called upon Congress to restrict the access dangerous people have to firearms. Bishops United Against Gun Violence has taken a strong leadership role in response to the senseless deaths and injuries due to gun violence in the United States.

 

Consistent with the canons of The Episcopal Church and our diocese, SJE’s Gun Violence Prevention Team (GVP) advocates for the adoption of common sense gun-safety legislation.

The GVP team is meeting on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at 1:00pm at St. John's Episcopal Church. We'll be making plans for our next event(s). You are invited to join us. To find out more or get involved, contact Ministry Team Leader Nancy Collins.

 

As a people of faith, we believe that prayers are a faithful response to gun violence—particularly when matched with action. So Pray! And Take Action! Here are some suggestions:

Pray! 

From Prayers of the People created by St. Thomas Parish, Dupont Circle in Washington DC as a prayerful response to tragic acts of gun violence (February 14, 2018):

God of Righteousness, you have given our leaders, especially Joe, our President, the members of Congress, the judges of our courts and members of our legislatures, power and responsibility to protect us. For all who bear such responsibility, for all who struggle to discern what is right in the face of powerful political forces, Loving God,

Make us instruments of your peace.

Step Up! Show Up! Speak Up!

Episcopalians across the church are invited to join a conversation with Bishops United Against Gun Violence and End Gun Violence Michigan on Tuesday, June 28th at 8:00pm. The session will focus on what individuals can do as Episcopalians and as churches advocating for common sense measures to end the violence. Everyone is invited to join this 45-minute conversation. Click here to learn more about this event on the Bishop's United Against Gun Violence website.

Sign the Episcopal Church Policy Network, Office of Government Relations, electronic petition supporting federal background check reforms to strengthen and expand background checks online here

The GVP team is creating a Postcard Party Tool Kit to help other groups organize their own Postcard Party - a chance for parishioners to sign pre-printed postcards that are mailed to state legislators urging them to take action on gun-safety bills currently stuck in committee. The tool kit will be available on this webpage in early July 2022. Do you know of a group that might be interested in holding their own Postcard Party? If so, let them know about our tool kit.

Volunteer!

Attend the next meeting of SJE's GVP team on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at 1:00pm at St. John's Episcopal Church. Help plan future events advocating for our lawmakers to enact common sense gun-safety legislation.

End Gun Violence Michigan is considering whether to launch a gun-safety ballot initiative in 2024. In the event a ballot initiative is launched they are seeking to identify 2,000 registered voters to potentially circulate petitions. If you’re interested, or want more information, contact Ministry Team Leader Nancy Collins

Vote!

Be sure you are registered to vote.

If you are registered: VOTE August 2, 2022.

Be Informed!

How the SJE GVP Team Came to Be

In the wake of the November 30, 2021 mass shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan (where four students were killed and seven people injured) 130 leaders from across Michigan came together to explore a different approach to the epidemic of gun violence. They agreed to work together as End Gun Violence Michigan to consider whether a gun-safety ballot initiative in Michigan could succeed in 2024. Early in the spring of 2022 our Provisional Bishop Prince Singh invited parishes in our diocese to participate in this endeavor.

 

Accepting our bishop’s call, a small -- but passionate -- group from St. John’s organized to support the efforts of End Gun Violence Michigan through advocacy and education.

 

On April 13, 2022 members of SJE’s Gun Violence Prevention Team and concerned citizens from throughout Michigan communicated with elected officials in Lansing to urge the consideration of common sense gun-safety legislation which has languished in committee. Attempts were made by some legislators to bring the bills out of committee. But those efforts were blocked.

 

Since April, additional senseless murders as a result of gun violence have taken place in the United States. Most notably, on May 14, 2022 a mass shooting occurred at a Tops Friendly Markets grocery store in Buffalo, New York. Ten Black people were killed and three other people were injured. On May 24, 2022 nineteen elementary age students and two teachers were fatally shot at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Seventeen other people were wounded.

 

We lament these and all senseless deaths and injuries due to gun violence. And we are angry that state and national elected officials have not come together to pass common sense gun-safety legislation. With God's help, we’re working to change that.

Prayer and Action at SJE

Members of SJE’s Gun Violence Prevention Team - along with other concerned People of Faith brought together by End Gun Violence Michigan - urged lawmakers in Lansing to adopt common sense gun-safety legislation during EGV Michgan's Lobby Day on April 13, 2022.

On Thursday, June 9, 2022 St. John's Episcopal Church offered a Requiem Vigil & Mass of Advocacy for Victims of Gun Violence video online here, bulletin online here, which 30 people attended. Mass was followed by a candle-lit procession to SJE's Homeless Jesus statue on Washington Avenue where participants stood in silent vigil for 21 minutes in memory and prayer for the lives lost in Uvalde, Texas. 

On Saturday, June 11 about a dozen members of SJE (plus friends) participated in the local  March for Our Lives on June 11 to demand lawmakers act to save lives. More than 100 people from the community showed up in Grand Haven's Central Park (and marched through downtown) to let elected officials know we demand and deserve a nation free of gun violence. Information about the local March for Our Lives is online here.

The GVP team wrapped up it's Postcard Party (a chance for parishioners to sign pre-printed postcards urging state lawmakers to enact common sense gun-safety legislation) on Sunday, June 19, 2022. The following week we sent cover letters with postcards calling on 11 state legislators to enact common sense legislation to address the public safety issues and public health concerns caused by gun violence. Seventy-eight people signed 145 postcards (some people only signed one postcard). The postcards were mailed to: Senators Tom Barrett, Jon Bumstead, Aric Nesbitt, and Roger Victory; Representatives Graham Filler, Luke Meerman, Terry Sabo, Greg VanWoerkom, and Mary Whiteford. Because Representative Jim Lilly departed the Michigan House of Representatives the end of June the postcards for HR District 89 were sent to Speaker of House Jason Wentworth!

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