Individuals from over 30 faith and community groups in southwestern Connecticut will gather together on Sunday, Oct. 16 to prevent and end gun violence. Forging Peace: A Community Day of Interfaith Worship and Action to End Gun Violence will take place from 1 – 3:30 p.m. at Christ Church, 59 Church Rd. in Easton.
This coalition of community groups is uniting in response to the tragic fact that more than 110 Americans are killed by guns every day in the U.S., said Rev. Ally Brundige of Christ Church Easton.
“Motivated by our shared commitments to human flourishing, we are showing up across our religious, political, racial, and provincial differences in order to unite for a day of worship and action to end gun violence,” Brundige said.
The interfaith worship service will happen from 1 – 1:45 p.m., according to Rev. Derek Stefanovsky, who is participating in the event. “Worship will include readings, prayers, music, reflections, and meditation and will be led by faith leaders from diverse towns and traditions,” Stefanovsky said.
Faith groups participating this weekend hail from Bridgeport, Easton, Monroe, Newtown, Shelton, Trumbull, Westport, and Wilton, and include Baptist, Buddhist, Congregational, Episcopal, Indigenous, Interfaith, Jewish, nondenominational, Orthodox, Pentecostal, and Quaker traditions.
“All are invited to attend,” Stefanovsky said.
Pastor Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff of the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport, will be among the attendees. “In our communities we know all too intimately the havoc and loss that gun violence wreaks,” he aid. “Our faith moves us to action.”
Following the worship service, from 1:45 – 3:30 p.m., community leaders, clergy, and social workers will host an outdoor fair with activities, safety information, prevention tips, actionable items, and ways to support community groups working in advocacy and prevention.
Aileen Brill of the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport and Swords to Plowshares board member, said, “We are so glad to be able to offer much needed safety information to parents and gun owners, as well as gun locks to gun owners.” The gun locks were donated by the Bridgeport Police Department, and are especially important given that one recent study found that more than 40% of gun-owning households with children in the U.S. stored their guns unlocked.
Peter Murchison of the Wilton Quaker Meeting and Carol Wakeman of the Jr. Newtown Action Alliance, has also generosity donated a few gun safes that will be given away to licensed gun owners (must bring a copy of a pistol license to be eligible).
Family-friendly activities will make the event truly welcoming to all. “Families should try out the Swords to Plowshares station where they can meld decommissioned gun barrels into jewelry and garden tools,” Brill said. Families with children can also contribute to the mural art project and stop by the children’s station to read books, play games or talk to a social worker.
Action steps and campaigns will be offered by CT Against Gun Violence, the Jr. Newtown Action Alliance, and Moms Demand Action.
State Senator Tony Hwang and State Representative Anne Hughes will also be on site for a conversation about gun violence prevention efforts.
Community groups working for domestic violence, suicide, community violence interruption and prevention, and mental health first aid will also be present to share information about how to access needed supports and/or encourage on-the-ground prevention efforts.
Memorial of the Lost Exhibit On Display
Members of the Easton and surrounding community are also invited to explore the Memorial to the Lost exhibit, currently on display at Christ Church through Sunday, Oct. 16. This year, 76 individuals have died from suicides and homicides by gun violence in Connecticut. Their names, written on t-shirts, are commemorated in the traveling exhibit, Memorial to the Lost, that seeks to pay tribute, acknowledge the families and communities still grieving, and invite reflection on what we all need to do to end gun violence.
For more information, contact Rev. Ally Brundige at email@example.com.