Our young people are leading the call to end gun violence

Photo courtesy Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan | Facebook
A photo of the 7,000 shoes placed on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on March 13.
March 14, 2018

Dear siblings of the Mountain Sky Area,
Today, March 14, young people throughout the Mountain Sky Area (Colorado | Montana | Wyoming | Utah) and across the United States walked out of schools to speak up against gun violence that has traumatized their lives as they demand action on how to keep their schools safe. On Tuesday, the lawn of the U.S. Capitol was covered in 7,000 pairs of shoes – symbolizing the 7,000 children killed by gun violence since the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn. It was truly a sobering sight and a painful reminder of lives cut too short.

Chart of gun deaths from www.gunviolencearchive.orgSince the beginning of this year, it seems we hear and read about a new mass shooting almost every week. In Colorado, 10 law enforcement officers have been shot, with three of them killed in the line of duty. How do we respond? What is our call as followers of Jesus?

As we remember those affected by gun violence, and pray for healing and peace, we must also remember to “pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Romans 14:19). God desires both prayer and action! We are the ones God calls on to turn from violence and create Beloved Community. On Saturday, March 24, I invite you to participate in March For Our Lives. This is a nationwide movement to address gun violence and to advocate that the well-being and safety of our young people be our priority as a nation. Find your local march online on the March For Our Lives website.

Our young people are leading us. They are helping us change the conversation about gun violence in our nation. May we listen to them. May we learn from them. May we commit ourselves to care for them.

Let us remember to extend hope, joy, and peace in God to all whom we meet in these times. May God guide us as we move forward as a more peaceful and loving nation.

Bishop Karen P. Oliveto

What you can do to help:

We can inform: by reading the *Call to End Gun Violence in the Book of Resolutions. By staying informed, we can advocate on a local, national, and international level to stand with those against gun violence. 

We can pray: for our brothers and sisters affected by these tragedies, and their friends and families who mourn.

We can stand together: for the peaceful future that we seek, and not give up hope along the way.

*Source: General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church