Church group walks against gun violence
The event started at the church, a few blocks off Highway 99W on West Second Street. It was held in conjunction with the Stations of the Cross, coordinated in Washington, D.C. by the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.
Marchers recited the Lord’s Prayer before leaving the church parking lot. They also read some of the prayers said at the nation’s capitol that morning.
Sharon Hunt read an excerpt from the first station presentation of the Rev. Kathie Adams-Shepherd, rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, Conn., site of a recent school shooting that rocked the nation.
“The gospel calls us to carry a cross of hope and peace, and to care deeply for every human life — the lives of people we know personally and the lives of those we may never meet,” it started. “We are called not to wash our hands of the violence of this world but to raise our hands and our voices tirelessly in protest against it. We are called to claim every life as a life worthy of our efforts to ensure that every single one of God’s children is safe, whole, loved and living a life of peace. We must see in every life the very life and breath of God.”
The Rev. Kathleen Galvin, priest at St. Barnabas, said the interwoven nature of the globe means all are affected. “I just pray and cry for everybody,” Galvin said — “every family that has experienced gun violence in particular.”
The group marched down the sidewalk carrying the banner and cross, and held them during the rest of the vigil.
After the walk, Galvin said she felt the event went well. She said two individuals stopped to engage the group, both sparking an informed conversation.
She said one referenced the Second Amendment. She said she supports it, but may interpret it somewhat differently.
Galvin said she heard only two invectives hurled demonstrators’ way. She said the three-hour display prompted quite a bit of honking and waving, which she interpreted as a sign of support.
“It was a delight,” Galvin said. “All the way around, it was a success. God was there.”
In February, the church sent a petition to Congress, signed by 62 of its members, calling for reform of existing gun laws. It began:
“Our petition is based on these philosophical points: We profess a ‘holy yes’ for the protection of human life. As Marilyn Chandler McEntyre states in a book titled, ‘Weavings,’ ‘What if the standard of living we aspire to threatens the lives we hope for?... Somehow ‘in the name of patriotism we accept destructive patterns of behavior.’ Famous writer/poet (Henry) Thoreau, cited, ‘Jesus calls for his followers to stay awake with the one.’”
It continued: “The USA has the highest rate of gun-related domestic violence in the world. Within the past five years there have been 19 mass shootings with no political action or federal law reform in our country. This current state of violence cannot be our ‘normal.’”
It went on to urge Congress to enact laws facilitating crime gun tracing, requiring hidden serial numbers, mandating background checks for all purchase of guns and ammunition, policing gun trafficking across state and national borders, imposing tougher sentences on gun use by convicted felons, strengthening regulation of dealers, banning assault weapons and prohibiting any weapons of military design.
It concluded: “We submit our signatures on this petition in response to our Christian and civic duty as registered voters in the state of Oregon, and as friends and many parishioners of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in McMinnville, Oregon.”