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In the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego (EDSD), the sorrow linked to gun violence is a call to action, a clarion call to stand against violence and advocate for peace. It is within this spirit of compassion and resolve that the diocese’s Gun Safety Working Group (GSWG) was formed, striving to transform their anguish into meaningful efforts to prevent gun violence.

Bishop Susan Brown Snook’s recent statement on gun violence resonates deeply with our community. Each act of gun violence, she says, reminds us of the fragility of life and the destructive power that can shatter it in an instant. In these moments of chaos, Bishop Snook draws inspiration from Luke 22:49-51, where Jesus, faced with violence, heals rather than harms. His words, “No more of this!” echo across time, urging us to reject violence and embrace peace.

Bishop Susan calls upon the diocese to act in accordance with Christ’s teachings on love, peace, and justice. This call to action is the heartbeat of the Gun Safety Working Group, guiding its mission and inspiring its initiatives.

A key focus for the Gun Safety Working Group this year is Wear Orange Sunday on June 9th. This event is more than just a day on the calendar; it is a powerful symbol of hope and safety. The color orange, traditionally worn by hunters for safety, has been adopted by the gun violence prevention movement to symbolize the urgent need to protect lives. The day commemorates Hadiya Pendleton, a young girl whose life was tragically cut short by gun violence in Chicago.

As Episcopalians across EDSD don orange on June 9th, they do so not only to remember those lost but to stand in solidarity with survivors and advocates, affirming their commitment to gun safety.

The Gun Safety Working Group’s efforts extend beyond symbolic gestures. We are deeply engaged in community-led initiatives and partnerships aimed at addressing gun violence at the local level. This year, we will participate in National Gun Violence Awareness Day events from June 7-9 and the National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence on December 11, 2024. These events serve as platforms for raising awareness, fostering community solidarity, and advocating for change.

Unfortunately, one of the most impacted demographics of gun violence is our youth. The Gun Safety Working Group engages with the EDSD Youth Leadership Council to listen and learn from our teens. As the teens share their experiences with the fear of gun violence at their schools and hang-outs, they also impress upon us the importance of action–encouraging people to participate in initiatives like Sandy Hook Promise’s “Say Something”, Brady’s and SD4GVP “Team Enough”, Everytown’s “Students Demand Action”, and “March for Our Lives”. By involving youth, the Gun Safety Working Group is growing partnerships with a new generation committed to creating a safer world.

Looking beyond immediate actions, the long-term vision is clear: to make homes, schools, places of worship, and communities safer from gun violence. We aim to support congregations by providing information on individual gun safety, assisting with the incorporation of safety measures into church plans, and advocating for common-sense gun safety policies.

As the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego continues its mission to promote peace and safety, the Gun Safety Working Group’s effort stands as a testament to faith in action. Our journey is one of transformation—turning sorrow into strength, grief into resolve, and despair into hope. As Wear Orange Sunday approaches on June 9th, let us remember the lives lost to gun violence and recommit ourselves to the courageous work of creating a world where peace prevails. Together, guided by faith and united in purpose, we can make a difference.

To learn more about the Gun Safety Working Group, please email group chair Paul Conry at paul.j.conry@gmail.com 


Category: #Advocacy, #Communications

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