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New book to help churches challenge gun violence epidemic

Posted on: January 22, 2015 12:10 PM
According to the FBI, in 2012, there were 8,855 total firearm-related homicides in the US.
Related Categories: Connecticut, Maryland, Newark, USA, violence

By ACNS staff

Church leaders including Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori have contributed to a book that "aims to help dioceses, congregations, and individuals reclaim the Gospel message of peace for our society".

Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace, Challenging the Epidemic of Gun Violence has been published by The United Methodist Publishing House in partnership with the Episcopal Church's Church Publishing Incorporated.

COKESBURY_usa _gunviolencebook1The book's genesis was a meeting of more than 300 Episcopalians who gathered in Oklahoma City in April 2014 to renew their commitment to the Gospel call to make peace in a world of violence.

Through deep conversation, prayer, and skill building the event empowered the Episcopal Church to address violence and reclaim its role in society as workers for nonviolence and peace. The book was one of the outcomes of the gathering.

The book, which includes a study guide, is divided into five sections:

  • Proclaim: The Gospel
  • Sustain: The Witness
  • Reclaim: The Response
  • Pray: The Work
  • Engage: The Next Steps

Topics are offered in the areas of advocacy, education, liturgy, and pastoral care that churches can use to address the culture of violence within and outside of the Church.

The reader will hear the Gospel proclaimed through personal stories of witness from key leaders in the Church today, including Justin Welby, Katharine Jefferts Schori, Edward Konieczny, Eugene Sutton, Mark Beckwith, James Curry, Mariann Edgar Budde, Gary Hall, Kathleen Adams Shepherd, Mark Bozzuti-Jones, Kay Collier McLaughlin, and others. 

Topics include: systemic/root cause of violence, suicide/mental health, hate crimes, gang violence, race and violence, advocacy, gun violence, bullying, gender-based violence, and non-violence. Reflection questions follow each chapter with a comprehensive study guide for group use included.

Gun violence is a serious problem in the United States. According to the FBI, in 2012, there were 8,855 total firearm-related homicides in the US. These included The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which was a major driver behind the decision of nearly 60 Episcopal bishops to band together to "explore means of reducing the appalling levels of gun violence in our society, and to advocate for policies and legislation that save lives."

BAGV_usa _bishops2

The group, Bishops Against Gun Violence, is convened by Bishops Mark Beckwith of the Diocese of Newark, Ian Douglas of the Diocese of Connecticut and Eugene Sutton of the Diocese of Maryland, and includes nearly 60 bishops from across the Episcopal Church.

A percentage of the book sales will go to support the group in its efforts. 

Over 300 Episcopalians came together in Oklahoma City in April 2014 to renew their commitment to the Gospel call to make peace in a world of violence. Through deep conversation, prayer, and skill building the event empowered the Episcopal Church to address violence and reclaim its role in society as workers for nonviolence and peace.

The book is available here