A conference has begun in Chicago, facilitated by a group of more than 60 Episcopal bishops working to curtail the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. “Unholy Trinity: the Intersection of Racism, Poverty and Gun Violence” is a three-day event grounded in scripture, liturgy and theology.
The conference will feature a “three-note” panel of African-American leaders offering perspectives on poverty, racism and gun violence and include Bible study focused on the conference themes as well as a prayerful procession to sites of gun violence on Chicago’s South Side.
Workshops at the conference are devoted to helping participants work with police, young people, legislators, the media, anti-violence advocacy groups and other constituencies to reduce gun violence.
“Our goal is to continue creating a network of Episcopalians inspired and equipped to work against gun violence and the social forces that drive it,” said Bishop Mark Beckwith of Newark, one of three co-conveners of Bishops United.
The “three-note” panelists are: the Rev. Canon Kelly Brown Douglas, Susan D. Morgan Distinguished Professor of Religion at Goucher College and canon theologian at Washington National Cathedral; the Rev. Julian DeShazier, senior minister of University Church in Chicago and a hip-hop artist who performs as J.Kwest; and Natalie Moore, a reporter for WBEZ, Chicago’s National Public Radio affiliate, and author of The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation. The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, will serve as moderator.
Bishops United Against Gun Violence is an ad hoc group of nearly 70 Episcopal bishops who have come together to explore means of reducing levels of gun violence in the United States and to advocate for policies and legislation that save lives. Bishops United works against gun violence by forming relationships and coalitions with interfaith colleagues, fellow advocates, and families whose lives have been touched by gun violence; giving voice to voiceless victims through public liturgy, advocacy, and prayer; and supporting each other in efforts to end gun violence in local communities.