On March 7, over 30 Episcopalians across Missouri joined forces with hundreds of volunteers from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America for an Advocacy Day at our state capitol. Moms Demand Action is a nonpartisan advocacy group that promotes common-sense gun safety laws to help prevent and eradicate gun violence in our state and country. The Diocese of West Missouri boasted representation of five people from four churches, Redeemer, St. Mary’s, St. Augustine’s, and Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. While we may have been small in number, we were giants in our conviction.
After the initial training, Episcopalians marched to the steps of the state capitol to pray. Our hearts broke for the victims of gun violence, those affected by it, and those who perpetuate it. We prayed for strength and wisdom as we prepared to speak with lawmakers and that God would go before us. As we prayed, the group’s confidence began to build, despite the gloomy weather and biting wind. Lenette Johnson, guided by the Spirit, extemporaneously led the group in the song This Little Light of Mine. Little did we know that at that very moment, a federal judge overturned Missouri’s very misleading Second Amendment Preservation Act. The act was ruled unconstitutional because it dangerously nullified federal gun laws in Missouri and prevented local law enforcement from cooperation with federal law enforcement. As we ended our time of prayer, members of Moms Demand Action informed us of this joyous news, and it was then that the sun began to shine.
We split into groups to talk to our state legislators; many of us had the opportunity to speak to our representatives as constituents. While not everyone was sympathetic to our cause, we were honored to be welcomed from the House floor by Rep. Ashley Aune, and many other legislators wore red as a sign of their support. In less than seven months, the Peace and Justice Committee has made many strides in living out our conviction to strive for Peace and Justice among all people, but we have more work to do. If you want to get involved, please get in touch with Tara Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be SMART. Learn more about the Be SMART initiative, designed to help parents and adults prevent child gun deaths and injuries. Diocesan volunteers are ready to give a 20-minute Be SMART presentation to your church, Adult Formation, Children’s Formation parents, or any other group. A communications toolkit is prepared for your use, full of social media and bulletin graphics, articles for your newsletter, handouts, and directions for how to share the message of Be SMART with your congregation. Contact Tara Bennett at email@example.com for more information, or visit the Peace & Justice Committee page on the Diocesan website.
If you want to be informed about urgent issues, calls to action, legislative alerts, and ongoing gun violence prevention work with The Diocese of West Missouri, please complete our form.
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- 05-05-2023. Link to an email sign-up form added, and Peace and Justice Chair Tara Bennett’s email address updated.