Taking Action Against Gun Violence
by the Rev. Mary Haggerty,
Missioner for Gun Violence Prevention
June 26, 2023
On Friday evening, June 2, one-hundred people from various faith communities around St. Louis gathered in Tower Grove Park for a Wear Orange prayer service. Wear Orange Day is a national day of gun violence awareness and remembrance. We gathered to lament, to remember the lives cut short by gun violence, to pray for change, and to commit to be that change in our communities.
The pavilion was adorned with quilts from the Faces Not Forgotten project, faces of children in St. Louis killed by gun violence. The project’s founder and director, Christine Llewski, shared her own survivor story and reminded those gathered that these deaths are not just statistics, they are beloved children, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles who will never be forgotten.
Following the prayer service, led by Bishop Deon Johnson, attendees were invited to visit the Be SMART table to learn about how to keep kids safe as well as the Lock it for Love table where free gun locks were available. There was also a table set up with supplies to make hand-written cards for families in Uvalde, Texas who lost children in the mass shooting there just a year ago.
The cards have been sent to Rev. Mike Marsh at St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church in Uvalde for distribution through the Uvalde school system. Mike says the biggest fear on this first anniversary is that they will be forgotten. The cards are a small token of our care for them and our pledge to work for change.
If you are interested in getting updates and action alerts from the missioner for gun violence prevention, contact the Rev. Mary Haggerty at [email protected].
On Sunday, June 4, parishes around the diocese were invited to Wear Orange and to incorporate prayers for victims of gun violence into the Sunday service. Colleen Haggerty, a member of the diocesan gun violence prevention advisory committee, shared her experience of attending the Bishops United Against Gun Violence Advocacy event in Washington, D.C. in May with Grace Episcopal Church in Kirkwood.
Watch the presentation here:
Also on June 4, approximately 300 people turned out for a Wear Orange March in Webster Groves. Emmanuel Episcopal Church hosted the crowd, which was focused on raising awareness of gun violence and finding ways to be involved to bring about change.
Wear Orange March - Emmanuel Episcopal Church - June 4, 2023
Get more information about our diocesan gun violence prevention ministry.