St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church


St. Bart's Blog

Voices from Gun Violence Prevention Series

Posted by Bill Doehr on

“…I saw the headline for the Parkland High School, and I didn’t want to click on it, I just didn’t want to do this again…”

“…I saw the headline for the Parkland High School, and I didn’t want to click on it, I just didn’t want to do this again…”

“…I’ve only actually seen a gun once in my life…”

“…I was an officer in the homicide unit for ten years…”

“…I would sometimes go with people and shoot skeet, which was fun, and then, once, my gun fired by accident with people standing around…it was such a shock…”

“…I’m kind of attracted to guns, I’ve shot at ranges, and I don’t think I’m a psycho or anything…”

“…I want to learn how to talk about this without shouting or being shouted at…”

“…I didn’t become a teacher to train kids how to barricade windows and try to subdue an active shooter…”

“…I have a child in high school...”

“…I have two kids, one in middle school and one in elementary…”

These are the voices of fifteen people who attended the Peace & Justice Ministry’s first meeting on Preventing Gun Violence.

Those twelve parishioners and three visitors gathered in the Parish Hall for the first of a series of Tuesday night meetings.

The meetings will follow a course curriculum from the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF). As an example, our discussion last Tuesday was guided by readings and questions from the EPF, letting the participants give voice to the things which concerned them:

The polarizing nature of the gun debate

Who can you engage and how to dialogue with them

The politicization of the Second Amendment

“Gun Control” is used as a one-issue litmus test for candidates

The changing role of the NRA

Several participants grew up in the NRA and have seen changes

The shift in what guns represent to us

From tools of survival to symbols of patriotism

The personal need to find some way toward resolving this problem in our communities

The evening opened with a reading from Isaiah (58:1-12) which contrasts the worshiper who takes attitudes (and platitudes) of piety rather than the one who takes action to break the bonds of injustice. 

In the upcoming Tuesday evenings, the curriculum will focus on understanding different aspects of Gun Violence, such as the scope of gun violence in America, the sources (legal and illegal) of weapons, the role of guns in suicide issues, and dealing with the aftermath of gun violence, both in support of grief and in resources for taking action.

Each of the meetings can stand alone in its subject matter, and we encourage anyone with an interest to join us:



From either side of the debate

As our street banner says, “All Are Welcome.” The real fruit of these discussions will come from learning to listen, from the give-and-take, and from the dialogue skills we develop in learning about our many-sided relationship to gun violence. 

As the evening closed, we revisited the reading from Isaiah, ending with his call for us to “…be the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.” Very contemporary thoughts.

Please join us!

Find out more about the Gun Violence Prevention Study Series, Tuesdays 6-8:30 p.m. through May 15, 2018.