Wear Orange for Gun Violence Awareness
by the Rev. Mary Haggerty,
Missioner for Gun Violence Prevention
April 20, 2023
The weekend of June 2-4, 2023, Episcopal Churches across the Diocese of Missouri are invited to participate in “Wear Orange Day” in honor of victims and survivors of gun violence across our country.
Wear Orange Day was born out of a tragic shooting in Chicago. On January 21, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton marched in President Obama’s second inaugural parade. One week later, Hadiya was shot and killed on a playground in Chicago. Soon after this tragedy, Hadiya’s friends commemorated her life by wearing orange, the color hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others. Wear Orange is now observed every June. Thousands of people wear the color orange to honor Hadiya and the more than 40,000 people who are killed with guns and approximately 85,000 who are shot and wounded every year.
You are invited to a Prayer Service of Remembrance and Lament on Friday, June 2 to remember those who have died by firearms this year and to pray for a different future. The Wear Orange prayer service will be held at Tower Grove Park at the Humboldt South pavilion at 6 p.m. (download park map here). Bishop Deon will lead us in prayer, followed by a time of fellowship and refreshments. Information will also be available on gun violence prevention efforts around the Diocese.
Then on Sunday, June 4, Bishop Deon invites everyone in Episcopal Churches across the Diocese of Missouri to observe Wear Orange Sunday during your services in honor of the victims and survivors of gun violence in our country. We will stand united in our call to end gun violence as we come together for Wear Orange Sunday.
You are invited to ask your congregation to wear orange on Sunday, June 4, and clergy are encouraged to wear orange stoles. In your Sunday liturgy, you are encouraged to offer special prayers of lament and of hope for a different future. Consider using this bulletin insert to encourage worshippers to choose one way to work toward an end to gun violence. This might be a Sunday to invite a speaker in during the education hour to share information and answer questions. Consider decorating the entrance to your church with orange flags or prayer banners – get creative!
We encourage you to take pictures and post on your favorite social media platform about the day (#WearOrange, #DioMO). You can also send your pictures and stories to communications director Janis Greenbaum and she will share them with the Diocese.
However you choose to observe Wear Orange Sunday, the important thing is that we honor and remember in prayer those whose lives have been cut short by gunfire and those survivors whose lives are forever scarred. Our faith compels us to love one another as Christ has loved us. We who follow the Prince of Peace must commit ourselves to work for peace in our communities.