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Episcopal bishops to hold anti-gun violence service during general convention

Posted on: May 14, 2015 9:03 AM
Bishops Ian Douglas, Mariann Budde, Doug Fisher and Rev. Ken Phelps attend the Newtown Remembrance Vigil at the Washington National Cathedral in December, 2013.
Photo Credit: Bishops United Against Gun Violence
Related Categories: Chicago, Connecticut, Maryland, Newark, USA, Utah, violence

[Canticle Communications] Bishops United Against Gun Violence, a group of more than 60 Episcopal bishops, will sponsor a prayerful procession through the streets of Salt Lake City, Utah, during The Episcopal Church’s General Convention in late June. The gathering is intended to urge people of faith to seek common ground in efforts to curtail gun violence.

The event, called Claiming Common Ground Against Gun Violence, will take place on Sunday, June 28, said Bishop Mark Beckwith of Newark, a co-convener of Bishops United. The service will include opening prayers, a stop for testimony in nearby Pioneer Park, and concluding prayers outside the Salt Palace.

Bishop Scott Hayashi of Utah, who survived a gunshot wound as a young man, will be among the speakers. Bishop Jeff Lee of Chicago, Dent Davidson, music chaplain for the House of Bishops, and the Rev. Lester Mackenzie, chaplain to the House of Deputies, will lead prayers and music during the procession.

“The debate over gun violence in our country has become polarized, but it need not be that way,” Beckwith said. “There is broad agreement among people who own guns and people who don’t that universal background checks and other common sense measure save lives while protecting the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms. We want to focus the attention of our church and the broader public on these common sense reforms, and muster the political will to see them enacted.” 

Beckwith convenes Bishops United with Bishops Ian Douglas of Connecticut and Eugene Sutton of Maryland. The group formed after mass shootings at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012. 

 Bishops United Against Gun Violence is an ad hoc group of nearly 60 Episcopal bishops who have come together to explore means of reducing the levels of gun violence in US society, and to advocate for life-saving policies and legislation.