“Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” The answer to this question from our Baptismal Covenant is “We will with God’s help.” One way we live out that commitment as a congregation is for the Vestry (the governing Board) to take official stands on issues of justice and peace and in support of the dignity of every human being. We do that through the process of adopting a resolution. One of those resolutions — adopted in 2013 — concerns Gun Violence Prevention.
In the wake of the Orlando shootings, in the week following the historic sit-in by members of Congress committed to sensible gun safety legislation and on the eve of National Day of Action on Gun Violence (June 29, 2016) we thought it a good time to revisit the language of that resolution as we redouble our commitment to this important and ongoing work.
RESOLUTION ON GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION
Adopted by the Vestry of All Saints Church, Pasadena, on November 19, 2013
WHEREAS, our scriptures and faith tradition recognize the sacredness in every human being;
WHEREAS, in our baptismal vows we commit to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being;
WHEREAS, gun-related deaths and injuries in the United States are at epidemic proportions, with 85 people killed every day by gun violence;
WHEREAS, 60% of gun-related deaths are suicides;
WHEREAS, each day 7 children and teens are killed, and 43 children and teens are injured by gun violence in our country;
WHEREAS, gun violence disproportionately affects Black and Latino communities and other disenfranchised people;
WEREAS, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church passed a resolution on February 27, 2013, expressing profound sorrow at the epidemic of gun violence in our communities and urged Episcopalians to work toward comprehensive social responses that seek to stem the cycles of violence that fuel gun crime;
WHEREAS, the Episcopal House of Bishops issued a letter on March 12, 2013 entitled, A Word to the Church: Godly Leadership in the Face of Violence, which states in part:
“We call on all Episcopalians to pray and work for the end of gun violence. We commit ourselves to lead a new conversation in our nations as to the appropriate use and legislation of firearms. And we further commit ourselves to specific actions to this end.”
WHEREAS, reducing gun violence in our communities and in our Nation will require action at the National, state and local levels of government to adopt sensible gun laws;
WHEREAS, reducing gun violence in our communities and in our Nation will also require a coordinated effort by law enforcement, mental health professionals, community leaders and faith communities to promote a culture of gun safety, public health solutions and strategies to make our communities safer;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Rector, the Wardens and the Vestry commit All Saints Church Pasadena to pursue sustained efforts and strategies intended to address and reduce gun violence in our community and in our Nation. Such efforts will include:
• Proclaiming and upholding a vision of a world free of all forms of violence and weapons of violence;
• Supporting gun control and other legislation at the federal, state and local levels that contributes to a reduction in gun violence;
• Working with other faith communities and community organizations to promote mental health strategies and public health solutions to curb gun violence; and
• Continuing to educate and engage parishioners in advocacy and actions that prevent gun violence.