The College of Bishops

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church 

June 13, 2022 

Statement on Mass Shootings and Gun Violence

Several weeks ago, many of us were perplexed and saddened at the news of the mass shooting which occurred at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Somehow as perplexed and saddened as we were, there was nothing to indicate that this mass shooting would become the first in a series of mass shootings to occur across this country in the following weeks. These mass shootings from Buffalo, to Uvalde, TX, to Philadelphia, PA, to Smithsburg, MD, to Chattanooga, TN, to Tulsa, OK and other places on the growing list of mass shootings have taken the lives of innocent people, injured many others, and devastated countless families and communities.

 Our neighbors became victims as they were going about the routines of everyday life. These places which should have been considered safe, such as a supermarket, elementary school, job sites, and places of worship, however for the victims and survivors, these sites were anything but safe. Recent mass shootings have taken the lives of people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages. Whereas the ages and walks of life have been different for the victims, the common cry from their spilled blood is, when will this stop?

As we grieve with the families on both sides of these mass shootings, we too join the loud chorus of people calling for the end of gun violence. This will require more than token attempts at sensible gun reform. We can all agree now is the time for bold action to curb gun violence in this country. Marches and protests are good, and we applaud those who are leading these efforts across the nation. We are encouraged by the overwhelming number of protests and people taking to the streets of this nation demanding action to stop gun violence. But until systemic changes are made, we will continue to see people dying at the hands of persons with guns for evil reasons. Protection of 2nd Amendment rights is one thing but in the real world and for people of faith, it should not supplant the commandment which says, “You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13).”

We, like many of you, are encouraged by the efforts coming out of the Biden Administration, from Capitol Hill, as well as from some local and state governments across the nation. But until real change occurs, we should hear our call to action from the words of one the hymns of the church, “Hark the Voice of Jesus Calling”, ringing in our collective ears, “Let none hear you idly saying, “There is nothing I can do,” while the souls of {people} are dying, and the Master calls for you. Take the task he gives you gladly, let His work your pleasure be; answer quickly when He calleth, “Here am I, send me, send me!”

What is our call to action in response to these mass shootings and the problem of gun violence? We recommend the following steps that we all can take at every level of our Connection:

1.    Continue to pray for the victims’ families, the nation, as well as all parties involved.

2.    Hold gun violence conversations in your sanctuary or on zoom with members of your congregation and community.

3.    Participate, if you feel led to do so in peaceful gun violence rallies in your communities.

4.    Contact your elected officials and express the need for urgent action from them leading to real change.

5.    Begin now researching candidates for elected offices at every level in your voting precinct to find out their views on gun violence and make your voice heard through the ballot box.

 

Although we face challenging odds, we remain encouraged and hopeful that God will bring us through. Blessings!

 

The College of Bishops of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church:

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