[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] An Episcopalian bishop from Connecticut has called for a national conversation on gun crime in support of a nationwide movement today (2 June) when people across the United States will wear orange to highlight the issue. The Bishop of Connecticut, the Rt Revd Ian Douglas spoke in a video message in support of ‘Wear Orange’ day, saying, “death and destruction is not of God”, and calling for education, appropriate legislation and collation building over the issue.
He said, “The church has a key role to play. We need to foster a conversation, create space where gun owners and those who do not possess fire arms can have a conversation about what it means to be children of God.”
Director for Continuing Indaba for the Anglican Communion, the Revd Phil Groves said Bishop Ian’s comments were part of the living reconciliation process calling on both sides to come together and talk about their differences. He said, “The Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka identified cultures of violence as a key feature of life around the world and commitments were made to change. We want to support this very important move by Bishop Ian.”
Wear Orange day, which is being run on National Gun Violence Awareness Day came about in response to the shooting of 15-year-old Chicago student Hadiya Pendleton, who was killed in January 2013. Orange is the colour a group of Hadiya’s friends chose to wear to remember her life. They chose orange because that is the colour hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others. The high school protest has now turned into a nationwide movement to honor all lives cut short by gun violence and a call to action to help save lives from gunfire.
Other bishops across the US have come out in support of Wear Orange day including the Bishop of Iowa, the Rt Revd Alan Scarfe, the Bishop of Southern Ohio, the Rt Rev Tom Breidenthal, and the Rt Revd Anne Hodges Copple from North Carolina, who are all featured on the facebook page ‘Bishops United against gun violence’.
According to Bishop Ian gun crime alienates people from each other and their true selves. He said, “In the US every year 30,000 people continue to die directly because of gun violence and 60 per cent of them at their own hand… Our vocation is to work together and find that space where arm in arm we can say that such death and destruction is not countenanced in our society any more. ”
For Bishop Ian’s video message see: