Author: Carol Young
Has the violence of the past month or year shaken you to the core? Have you prayed every day – sometimes more than once – for an end to gun violence- for the victims, their families, their communities, the perpetrators and their families, our country? If you have, you’ve probably come to the same conclusion I have. Prayer is not enough. There must be more to do.
My journey with this issue began in Louisville, KY, in our small, socially active church after the Parkland High School shooting in 2018. Church members were very concerned about our youth and wanted to figure out a way to support them. Shortly after the shooting, a high school student stood at the pulpit and shared her reactions to that tragedy. She talked about her fear and how it had changed her. She talked about wearing her favorite shoes to school. They were cool, stylish and totally impractical, but now she felt she had to wear her dorky sneakers to be ready to run for safety any minute. That shook me and forced me to realize I needed to do something more than pray. I agreed to co-lead a Sunday School forum with our youth followed by an adult forum. Our team joined Moms Demand Action with the idea of connecting to their interfaith arm to work on advocacy and education. I am happy to say that this group has grown and is an important voice in the Louisville community today.
Currently there are many opportunities to address this tragic issue which has literally come to Boulder’s front door. With Pastors Chris and Pedro and others we are exploring possibilities that might engage members of FCC. They include joining Colorado Faith Communities United (CFCU) or other local, state, and national organizations. Looking at the current levels of gun violence, the mission of CFCU through its 44+ congregations in the Denver area, including Boulder, is to “build consensus and support in our communities with steps that will turn our collective grief into shared hope.”
I have learned much in my search for a way to become involved in gun violence prevention (GVP). I recognize that as a public health epidemic, its impact is disproportionate in the communities it touches. I know that it is not an anti-gun coalition. In Colorado 76% of the shootings are suicides, and many of those are youth-related. We think of ourselves as people of peace. I believe it is time to make our voices count. If you are looking for ways to be included in the efforts of our faith community there will be a meeting TONIGHT, June 1 at 7:00 p.m. that will focus on our commitment to a GVP group and our next steps. All are welcome. I pray that we will all find a place that inspires us to work toward the elimination of gun violence in our community, our state and beyond.
Holy God, we come together today to look to you in helping us respond to gun violence. We ask you to be with us as we seek our first steps. We thank you for one another as a community living in your name. Please give us ears to hear and eyes to see your light pointing our way. Amen.