Feb, 19th, 2018
The First Monday in Lent – President’s Day
I am truly sad – but not without hope, over yet another mass shooting in one of our schools, this time in Parkland, Florida. To raise our awareness, I am posting the recent statement from the group, Bishops United Against Gun Violence. "Bishops United" is an association of approximately 70 bishops of The Episcopal Church.
With 28 mass shootings in schools across the country since January 2018 (1.5 months!), we do not concede that such tragedies can ever be permitted to lapse into “routine.” For starters – I hope each of us would really ponder this issue, not dismiss it as someone else’s problem, and see if we have some role to play in moving forward to improve our collective safety.
Like many of you, I am so impressed by the very courageous and compelling response from the students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. This is not an easy issue, as our nation tries to come to terms with the persistent reality of gun violence besetting our social fabric. But for these teens, who were attacked, they now have clarity. Even in their pain, God is no doubt, already redeeming some of the loss – by giving them voice and stirring our hearts. May these lives sacrificed be the seed and catalyst for real change. Perhaps this is the watershed moment for America in re-evaluating our relationship with assault rifles again. How might we protect our right to bear arms, and at the same time, protect our children; ourselves? My spirit is expectant… Can this particular shooting help us turn a corner toward humility and consensus? We can certainly pray (and we have), but it is my hope that we will do more. Read what our Bishops say – and then let’s see how the Spirit of God moves us in reflection, action and advocacy. Ultimately - we are all connected.
Your Sister in Christ,
Rector, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church
Bishops United Urges Assault Weapons Ban, Prayers of Lamentation
The heart of our nation has been broken yet again by another mass shooting at an American school.
We offer our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. We mourn with particular sorrow Carmen Schentrup, a 16-year-old student at the school and leader in the youth group at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, who died at the hands of the gunman. We pledge to work with the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida to lend whatever material and spiritual comfort we can to all those who have suffered such a devastating loss.
The phrase "thoughts and prayers" has been devalued by politicians whose prayers seem never to move them to act against their self-interests or the interests of the National Rifle Association. Yet, as Christians, we believe deeply in the power of prayer to console, to sustain and to heal, but also to make evident the work that God is calling us to do. We pray that all who have been touched by this violent act receive God's healing and solace.
In the wake of this massacre, we believe God is calling us to understand that we must not simply identify the social and political impediments to ending these lethal spasms of violence in our country. We must reflect on and acknowledge our own complicity in the unjust systems that facilitate so many deaths, and, in accordance with the keeping of a holy Lent, repent and make reparations.
Specifically, we ask you, members of our church and those who ally yourselves with us, to: