The Bishops of the Diocese of North Carolina Offer Opportunities for Action for Those Wishing to Respond to Gun Crisis
By Diocesan House
The bishops of the Diocese of North Carolina - the Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman, bishop, and the Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, bishop suffragan - offer opportunities for action to those who would like to advocate for all whose lives have been impacted by gun violence.
We thank everyone who joined us in prayer last night for all those affected by the recent gun violence in Texas, Ohio and California. It is a call we have had to make far too often of late, and we understand the concern and frustration of those who want to do more to help. To answer that need, we offer these resources and updates on the going work of both the Diocese and The Episcopal Church around the prevention of gun violence.
The Episcopal Church has long been involved with many issues related to social justice and public policy, including ongoing work to prevent gun violence, through the Office of Government Relations. We encourage you to learn more about this important branch of the church's advocacy and, if you are so moved, to sign up for alerts, updates and learn about ways to get involved, including at the local level.
Bishops across the Church have also been working together for the last several years through Bishops United Against Gun Violence, offering resources, information, liturgical materials and more. Both of us, the bishops of the Diocese of North Carolina, are members of this organization and support its work, including taking part in public witness.
Another excellent resource for information and advocacy opportunities is Everytown for Gun Safety, and we encourage all who are interested to visit the site.
The Episcopal News Service recently wrote about the steps the Church is taking toward direct advocacy with gun manufacturers in the hope that by working on yet another front, positive results may be achieved. The story contains links to even more information on the work of the Church.
Bishops and clergy throughout the Diocese of North Carolina are involved in strategic activities to stem the gun violence epidemic in a variety of ways. Calls and conversations with government representatives and local leaders, public witness, advocacy, education and more are taking place every day across the diocese.
We encourage you to engage with gun safety efforts at your local level as well as at the state and national level. We know many of you attended vigils yesterday to mourn the lives lost in El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy, and to pray for the healing of all who have been harmed. We know many of you are engaged with racial equity training as well as work with law enforcement, building the kinds of coalitions that can be harnessed to work for gun safety.
Think about what communities of faith in your area can do together to evoke and harness the spiritual fortitude needed to continue in this work. We must not allow understandable feelings of pessimism and anger to eclipse our hope or dampen our resolve. We have been endowed through baptism with the courage to will and to persevere.
We, the body of Christ, have the power - in prayer and in action - to change the conversation from a false dichotomy between protecting gun rights and protecting the public. Preventing gun violence is a public safety issue that protects everyone's rights, including the rights of gun owners and the rights of parents to take their children to church or shopping without fear of being killed or wounded by an automatic weapon. Preventing domestic terrorism is a call to the soul of our nation to realign our words and actions in ways that defend the rights and liberties of all human beings. Preventing domestic terrorism and mass shootings means equipping families, schools and mental health professionals to see and respond to the signs of a breaking point that could lead an individual to self-harm or violence toward others.
We encourage everyone to stay connected to diocesan communication channels. Whenever we have an announcement or gather for an opportunity to unite our voices, we will put forth the call and share the work of local communities.
No matter what our individual politics, every one of us believes in and is working toward Becoming Beloved Community and the chance to live in a world dominated by love, not fear. When we follow the path as shown to us by our Lord Jesus Christ, it is a goal that, by His grace - together - we can achieve.