Pastoral Note Addressing Gun Violence

Announced in worship on Sunday, October 4, 2015  following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon:

Thursday’s shooting in Oregon was the 45th school shooting in America in 2015.  I’ve read several times this quote: “In retrospect, Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate.  Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”


I hope that’s not true.  But it will be if people of faith keep saying we’re saddened by gun violence and we hope something changes, but we don’t take steps to make it so.  We have to act with thoughtful, measured and persistent action to change the way corporations, lobbyists, government promote this kind of violence.  And we have to act to change our culture.


WE have to act—The Riverside Church. With that conviction in mind, today I’d like to announce the formation of a Riverside Task Force on Gun Violence.  Working with the Mission and Social Justice Commission, Rev. Livingston and I will convene within the next two weeks a group with specific assignments to return to us recommendations for swift and meaningful action.


Please pray for this task force, and in the next few weeks look for their recommendations—ways in which we all will be asked to get involved to make a change.

3 Comments on “Pastoral Note Addressing Gun Violence

  1. The American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York has produced a statement on gun violence. I would be happy to send it to you if you like. Many blessings on this important endeavor.

  2. Thank you for doing this. So many of us feel helpless about these shootings. Please keep us posted about what steps your task force comes up with. We all need ideas !

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