Column: A Call to Action to End Gun Violence–Please Join Us Sunday

The tragic deaths by gun violence in Bristol and Bridgeport last week are a stark reminder that more than 110 Americans are killed by guns every day. In the communities of southwest Connecticut, we know this staggering loss intimately. And the clarion call to people of goodwill and faith is clear: with our “thoughts and prayers,” much more is needed. Please join more than 30 local and regional faith and community groups uniting for worship and action to end gun violence, this Sunday, Oct. 16 from 1 – 3:30 p.m.

The moniker, “You are in my thoughts and prayers,” is often uttered by well-meaning people of faith and nonfaith alike when confronted with death. More specifically, it is what we say when we don’t know what to say to the grieving person, people, or communities in front of us. Our words are inadequate. So by “thoughts,” at best, we mean to say, “Death brings a grief that is beyond words, and you are not alone.” And by “prayers” we mean to say, “I am here for you however I can be, but I know that I can’t take this pain away and therefore, I am holding you in my heart and lifting you up to God whom I trust does infinitely more than I can ask or imagine and who listens to us and comforts us when we cry out.”

But here’s the thing about sincere thoughts and prayers: They move us to action. As anyone who takes the practice of intercessory prayer seriously will tell you, when we pray for someone, we recognize them as a sibling in God to whom we are inexorably bound, and this changes us. As anyone who has experienced the heartbreak of grief will tell you, those who really have your best interest in thought, those who really mean it when they offer their prayers, also show up. They come with the casserole or the unobtrusive note. And they keep coming.

The call to action is clear: We, as people of faith, need to show up to end gun violence. We need to unite across our political, religious, racial, and provincial divisions. We need to demand common sense changes. We need to secure the guns in our homes and those of our neighbors and friends. We need to learn more about how to act to prevent suicide and homicide by gun.

And for starters, we will show up on Sunday to Forging Peace: An Interfaith day of Worship and Action, 1 – 3:30 p.m. at 59 Church Road in Easton, Conn. Please join us.

Memorial to the Lost traveling exhibit is on display through Sunday, Oct. 16 at Christ Church, 59 Church Rd. in Easton, Conn.

Please also stop by Christ Church Easton this weekend or drive by on Stepney Road to observe a tribute to all those lives lost this year in Connecticut to gun violence. Their names are written on white t-shirts, appearing as tombstones on the grounds in front of Christ Church to remember them and recognize grieving families and hurting communities.

As you walk through the Memorial to the Lost exhibit, please take a moment to consider ways you might take action to end gun violence.

The exhibit will be taken down to travel to the next installation after our community event’s conclusion on Sunday.

For more information, please contact Rev. Ally Brundige at reverendallyb@gmail.com.

Photo credit: Photo of protest installation in DC by March for our Lives activists who spelled “Thoughts and prayers” with body bags representing the 170,000 deaths by gun violence to occur between the shooting in Parkland, Fla. in 2018 and 2022. Posted on Twitter, 4:24 p.m.on March 24, 2022 with the caption “4 Years of #Thoughts and Prayers. 4 Years of Broken Promises.”

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