Gun Violence Prevention Team
The Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) Team
The Episcopal Church has a long history of supporting common sense gun-safety legislation. General Convention has repeatedly called upon Congress to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people. 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 gun-safety legislation that protects people.
The GVP team regularly meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 1:00pm. Our next regular meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 19 at 1:00pm at St. John's Episcopal Church. You are welcome to attend our meetings. To find out more or get involved, contact Ministry Team Leader Nancy Collins.
To receive communications from the GVP Team regarding future advocacy events and gun violence prevention education opportunities please complete the contact information on this form.
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 ideas:
Worship! Remember! 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 Resurrection, may we not forget those who have died in the gun violence that we have allowed to become routine. Receive them into your heart and comfort us with your promise of eternal love and care. For all who have died due to gun violence, those who die today, and those who will die tomorrow, Loving God, Make us instruments of your peace.
On the fourth Monday of each month at 5:15pm, the GVP team leads the Daily Office of Evening Prayer, including prayers for those who died in Ottawa, Allegan, Muskegon and Kent counties due to gun violence. Join us in prayer at 5:15pm on: March 27, April 24, May 22, June 26, July 24, August 28, September 25, October 23, and November 27.
After Evening Prayer we add leaves representing the gun violence deaths In Ottawa, Allegan, Muskegon and Kent counties to our Sandy Hook Memorial Tree to recognize those deaths and create an awareness of the impact of gun violence in our region.
Step Up! Show Up! Speak Up!
Call your Michigan state legislators and urge them to support gun violence prevention legislation.
Find your state representative here
SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, June 17, Silence the Violence March in downtown Grand Haven. Gather in Central Park by 11:00am.This even tis being organized by SJE's Gun Violence Prevention Team and the United Methodist Church of the Dunes Gun Violence Task Force.
SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, September 23, 2023 End Gun Violence Michigan Fall Lobby Day in Lansing.
Take the Sandy Hook Promise "14 Days of Action Challenge":
Dedicate yourself to a daily action from December 1–14 (or any time) to create a culture change for safer schools and communities. (On December 14, 2012, twenty children and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Sandy Hook Promise was founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were murdered in the tragic mass shooting. Join them in taking meaningful actions to honor the precious lives taken – and every life taken by gun violence – and help prevent another tragedy.)
Support the advocacy efforts of Sandy Hook Promise by signing their online petitions regarding:
Background Checks on Gun Sales
Extreme Risk Protection Orders
Policies for Safe Storage
Stop Assault Weapons Sales
Protect Kids from Ghost Guns
High-Capacity Magazine Limits
Stop the Silence. End Gun Violence.
OK2SAY is a statewide student safety program in Michigan which allows students to confidentially report tips on potential harm or criminal activities directed at students, school employees, and schools. If you see or hear something that threatens student or school safety, submit a confidential tip to OK2SAY. (Or, CALL: 855-565-2729; TEXT: 652729 - OK2SAY; EMAIL: OK2SAY@mi.gov)
Help Michigan Coalition to End Gun Violence reach their goal of 4,000 signatures by checking out and signing their online petition showing support to ban all citizen firearms on the Michigan Capitol grounds. Tell others about this petition.
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 soon. 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.
Attend the next meeting of SJE's GVP team on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 at 1:00pm at St. John's Episcopal Church. Help plan future events advocating for our lawmakers to enact common sense gun-safety legislation.
Can you help? End Gun Violence Michigan needs volunteers who can work with their legislative coordinator Vicki Schroeder to call legislators' offices, confirm schedules, and book meetings. It's work that must be done between 9:00am and 5:00pm, Monday thru Friday. If you can help, please contact Vicki directly at email@example.com.
"...a vote is a kind of prayer for the world we desire for ourselves and our children." Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock after being elected to the US Senate in 2022.
Be sure you are registered to vote. Residents of the State of Michigan can check current voter registration status online by visiting: mi.gov/vote then scroll to "Your Voter Information" and select the link "Am I registered?"
In Michigan, you can register to vote and update your voter registration address online if you have a valid Michigan driver’s license or state ID. If you don’t have a valid Michigan driver’s license or state ID, find out how to register to vote by going to Registering To Vote.
LINKS TO GUN VIOLENCE STATISTICS & RESEARCH:
GUN VIOLENCE ARCHIVE STATISTICS:
JANUARY 1 - MARCH 4, 2023
(Source verified deaths and injuries in the United States due to gun violence)
Total Number Gun Violence Deaths - All Causes: 7,279
Murder/Homicide/Unintentional Deaths: 3,121
Mass Shootings: 94
Mass Murders 9
Number of Injuries: 5,358
The Gun Violence Archive is an online archive of gun violence incidents collected from over 7,500 law enforcement, media, government and commercial sources daily in an effort to provide near-real time data about the results of gun violence. GVA is an independent data collection and research group with no affiliation with any advocacy organization.
Everytown Research & Policy conducts independent, methodologically rigorous research, supports evidence-based policies, and communicates this knowledge to the public.
LINK TO MICHIGAN GUN-SAFETY LEGISLATION INFORMATION:
Will be updated when Michigan legislature meets in 2023
Sojourner's How-to: Call Your Members of Congress
Sojourner's How-to: Call Your Legislator - And Make it Count
Sojourner's How-to: Meet Your Members of Congress
LINKS TO GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION ORGANIZATIONS:
End Gun Violence Michigan (The goal of End Gun Violence Michigan is to consider and decide whether a gun safety ballot initiative is possible in Michigan in 2024.)
Bishops United to End Gun Violence (Bishops United to End Gun Violence is a network of nearly 100 Episcopal Church bishops, that urges our cities, states and nation to adopt policies and pass legislation that will reduce the number of people in the United States killed and wounded by gunfire.)
Moms Demand Action (MDA is grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.)
Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence (MCPGV and its partners work collaboratively to prevent gun violence through community education and the development of evidence-based policies.)
United Against Gun Violence / Brady (Brady is one of America’s oldest and boldest gun violence prevention groups, and its history of success goes back decades.)
Why SJE's GVP Team was Organized
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 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 gun-safety legislation that protects people. With God's help, we’re working to change that.
What We're Doing: Prayer and Action
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.
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!
SJE Gun Violence Prevention team members joined in a conversation with Bishops United Against Gun Violence and End Gun Violence Michigan on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. The session focused on what individuals can do as Episcopalians and as churches advocating for common sense measures to end gun violence.
On Thursday, September 8, 2022 members of SJE's GVP team participated in an online interfaith service hosted by End Gun Violence Michigan and Southwest Michigan Interfaith Action. Bishop Provisional Prince Singh co-facilitated the service which lamented the ongoing toll of gun violence in Michigan. The event included time in prayer and remembrance, as well as interfaith perspectives on the issue of gun violence.
With help from members of the Ruth Circle of the United Women in Faith of the United Methodist Church of the Dunes the GVP team held a sign-making party in Timberlake Hall on Tuesday, September 27. We created 124 “tombstones” for the October 1 Silenced by Gun Violence Die-In Protest thanks to the efforts of Nancy B., Phyla, Carolyn, Val, Debbie, Jill, Robyn, Mary, Linda, and Nancy C.
Approximately 30 people participated in our Silenced by Gun Violence Die-In Protest on Saturday, October 1 at 1:00pm on SJE's Washington Avenue lawn. There were 124 “gravestones” on the lawn – representing the average number of people who died from gun violence per day in the United States in 2020. During remarks protestors placed carnations on the tombstones. The point was made that most, nearly 60%, of deaths due to gun violence are the result of successful suicide attempts. Prepared forms were available so participants could contact then Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey advocating for the adoption of gun-safety laws in Michigan.
On Wednesday, December 14, 2022, St. John's Episcopal Church held a special Requiem Mass on the 10th anniversary of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On December 14, 2012, twenty-six people were killed by a shooter in Newtown, Connecticut; twenty of the dead were children between six and seven years old and six victims were adult staff members. Service video online here, bulletin online here, and Grand Haven Tribune news article regarding the service online here. The offering collected during the service ($295) was donated to Sandy Hook Promise. (Image of Father Cramer by Kayla Tucker, Grand Haven Tribune, used with permission.)
Three members of the GVP team attended End Gun Violence Michigan's launch of a statewide public campaign advocating for the adoption of gun safety legislation in Michigan: safe storage to prevent mass shootings and deaths by suicide; extreme risk protection orders; universal background checks required for all firearms; and prohibiting domestic abusers from accessing guns. Events took place on January 18 at various times in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette, Oxford, and Saginaw.
The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations five week curriculum, “Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse,” was offered as a faith formation course between Sunday, January 8 and February 12. Retired Ohio State professor Mac Davis facilitated discussion about:
Jan 8: Civil Discourse in Context
Jan 15: Tenets for Civil Discourse
Jan 22: Values Based Conversations
Feb 5: The Complexities of Policy
Feb 12: Sacred Space for Debate
March for Our Lives led a Vigil & Remembrance for the victims in the shooting at Michigan State University in Grand Haven's Central Park on Saturday, February 18, 2023. Approximately 50 people participated, including members from SJE's Gun Violence Prevention Team and the United Methodist Church Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
At least seven people from Grand Haven gun violence prevention groups attended a Rally for Gun Safety with Gabby Giffords, on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing to show your support for:
➡️ EXTREME RISK PROTECTION ORDERS
➡️ SAFE STORAGE
➡️ BACKGROUND CHECKS