Council of Bishops - A Call to Prayer and Action in Response to Gun Violence

September 06, 2022

 

A Call to Prayer and Action in Response to Gun Violence
“Thou shall not kill.” - Exodus 20:13


We are called as United Methodist Bishops to respond to the devastation and disruption due to gun violence. Communities around the world are traumatized, we are facing a global and national health crisis, and children, families, and communities are left with emotional scars that beg for angels of mercy and the healing balm of Gilead.

The Bible declares in Exodus 20:13 “Thou shall not kill”—yet gun violence continues to escalate. In 2021 and 2022, 43 million more guns were sold in the United States, in addition to the 400 million guns already owned. As of June 2022, the United States has experienced over 300 mass shootings in this year alone.

Gun violence is more than a U.S. problem. Across the globe, 44% of all homicides involve guns. According to Amnesty International, 2,000 people are injured every day by gun shots and more than 500 of them die.

The Church is called to be an instrument of God’s grace. As people of prayer, we followers of Jesus are called to be “counter-cultural change makers.” To that end, we must reject the idolatry of guns and the distorted attachment to our right to own guns without safeguards for the communities of the world.

This is a call to prayer, beginning this September, for all who follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace. This is a call to action for all to weep with those who weep and demand, insist on, and push for positive change from our elected officials.
As United Methodists we have made our claim for a more excellent way to live and bring change.

“As followers of Jesus, called to live into the reality of God’s dream of shalom as described by Micah, we must address the epidemic of gun violence so ‘that he may teach us his ways and the way we may walk in God’s paths.’ Therefore, we call upon United Methodists to prayerfully address gun violence in their local context.” (Book of Resolution #3428 2016)

This call to prayer is not a shallow request but one that firmly believes that the collective prayers of God’s people will keep this issue in the forefront of our consciousness and guide our intentional discernment of the action needed to bring about change.

The United Methodist Council of Bishops commits to leading as peacemakers and prophetic witnesses to make our communities safer by reducing the tragedy and trauma of daily homicides and suicides. We call people to prayer and to work with ecumenical and interfaith partners in our public witness. We call for congregations to use United Methodist Church resources for Bible study and advocacy in their efforts to reduce gun violence. We support the ban on assault weapons and urge Church and government support for communities affected by the trauma of gun violence. We are committed to sharing Christ centered compassion as we walk alongside those who have been victims of gun violence. We call on all United Methodist to advocate for safer communities, safer schools and building bridges to beloved community.

Bishops of The United Methodist Church

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, President
New York Episcopal Area

Bishop Christian Alsted
Nordic/Baltic Area

Bishop Sandra L. Steiner Ball
West Virginia Area and Harrisburg Area

Bishop David Alan Bard
Michigan Area and Minnesota Area

Bishop George W. Bashore
Retired

Bishop Frank J. Beard
Illinois Area

Bishop Bruce P. Blake
Retired

Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe
Retired

Bishop Heinrich Bolleter
Retired

Bishop Benjamin Boni
Côte D'ivoire Area

Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr.
Sierra Leone Area

Bishop Lawson Bryan
Retired

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
San Francisco Area

Bishop Ken Carder
Retired

Bishop Kenneth H. Carter
Florida Area and Charlotte Area

Bishop Ray W. Chamberlain
Retired

Bishop Young Jin Cho
Retired

Bishop Sharon A. Brown Christopher
Retired

Bishop Charles N. Crutchfield
Retired

Bishop G. Lindsey Davis
Retired

Bishop Emílio J.M. De Carvalho
Retired

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
Boston Area

Bishop Gaspar Joao Domingos
Angola West Area

Bishop Sally Dyck
Retired

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling
Washington Area and Philadelphia Area

Bishop Leonard E. Fairley
Louisville Area and Raleigh Area

Bishop Robert E. Fannin
Retired

Bishop Robert Farr
Missouri Area

Bishop Violet L. Fisher
Retired

Bishop Ciriaco Francisco
Manila Episcopal Area

Bishop Lizzette Gabriel
Puerto Rico Area

Bishop Elias Galvan
Retired

Bishop Jose C. Gamboa, Jr
Retired

Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster
Retired

Bishop David Graves
Alabama-West Florida Area and South Georgia Area

Bishop William Boyd Grove
Retired

Bishop Alfred W. Gwinn, Jr
Retired

Bishop Grant Hagiya
Los Angeles Area and Phoenix Area

Bishop Laurie Haller
Iowa Area and Dakotas-Minnesota Area

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
Louisiana Area

Bishop Susan W. Hassinger
Retired

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson
North Georgia Area

Bishop Robert E. Hayes, Jr.
Retired

Bishop L. Jonathan Holston
Columbia Area

Bishop John L. Hopkins
Chicago Area

Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata
Retired

Bishop H. Hasbrouck Hughes, Jr.
Retired

Bishop Janice R. Huie
Retired

Bishop Joseph C. Humper
Retired

Bishop William Hutchinson
Retired

Bishop John G. Innis
Retired

Bishop Neil L. Irons
Retired

Bishop S. Clifton Ives
Retired

Bishop Alfred Johnson
Retired

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson
Retired

Bishop Scott Jones
Houston Area

Bishop Charles Wesley Jordan
Retired

Bishop Rodolfo Juan
Davao Episcopal Area

Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
Wisconsin Area

Bishop Benjamin A. Justo
Retired

Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer
Retired

Bishop Owan Kasap
Southern Congo Area

Bishop Kainda Katembo
Retired

Bishop Jonathan Keaton
Retired

Bishop Eduard Khegay
Eurasia Area

Bishop Deborah Kiesey
Dakotas Area

Bishop James R. King
Retired

Bishop Walter Klaiber
Retired

Bishop Arthur F. Kulah
Retired

Bishop Clay F. Lee
Retired

Bishop Linda Lee
Retired

Bishop Paul L. Leeland
Retired

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis
Virginia Area

Bishop William B. Lewis
Retired

Bishop Richard C. Looney
Retired

Bishop Daniel O. Lunge
Central Congo Area

Bishop Ernest Lyght
Retired

Bishop Joao Somane Machado
Retired

Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Ohio East Area

Bishop Joel N. Martinez
Retired

Bishop Marcus Matthews
Retired

Bishop William T. McAlilly
Nashville Area

Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey
Retired

Bishop Calvin D McConnell
Retired

Bishop Michael McKee
Dallas Area

Bishop Marshall L. Meadors, Jr.
Retired

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton
Retired

Bishop C.P. Minnick, Jr.
Retired

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi
Pittsburgh Area and Harrisburg Area

Bishop Susan Morrison
Retired

Bishop Gary Mueller
Arkansas Area

Bishop Albert F. Mutti
Retired

Bishop Mande Muyombo
North Katanga Area

Bishop Emerito Nacpil
Retired

Bishop Joaquina F. Nhanala
Mozambique Area

Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa
Zimbabwe Area

Bishop Alfred L. Norris
Retired

Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo
Retired

Bishop James Gregg Nunn
Oklahoma Area and Northwest Texas Area

Bishop Karen P. Oliveto
Mountain Sky Area

Bishop Øystein Olsen
Retired

Bishop Fama Onema
Retired

Bishop Donald A. Ott
Retired

Bishop Bruce R. Ough
Retired

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer
Ohio West Area

Bishop Jeremiah Park
Retired

Bishop Joseph E. Pennel, Jr.
Retired

Bishop Jose Quipungo
East Angola Area

Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr.
Liberia Area

Bishop Sharon Z. Rader
Retired

Bishop Harald Rückert
Germany Area

Bishop John W. Russell
Retired

Bishop Ruben Saenz, Jr.
Great Plains Area and Fort Worth Area

Bishop Roy L. Sano
Retired

Bishop Robert Schnase
New Mexico and San Antonio Area

Bishop John Schol
Greater New Jersey Area and Philadelphia Area

Bishop Ann B. Sherer-Simpson
Retired

Bishop Dan E. Solomon
Retired

Bishop Leo A. Soriano
Retired

Bishop Robert H. Spain
Retired

Bishop Joseph C. Sprague
Retired

Bishop Elaine Stanovsky
Greater Northwest Area

Bishop Forrest C. Stith
Retired

Bishop Thomas B. Stockton
Retired

Bishop Patrick Streiff
Central & Southern Europe Area

Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.
Mississippi Area

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson
Retired

Bishop Melvin Talbert
Retired

Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor
Retired

Bishop Solito K. Toquero
Retired

Bishop Pedro Torio, Jr.
Baguio Area

Bishop Julius C. Trimble
Indiana Area

Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda
Eastern Congo Area

Bishop Hans Växby
Retired

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
Birmingham Area and Holston Area

Bishop Daniel Wandabula
East Africa Area

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Retired

Bishop B. Michael Watson
Retired

Bishop Peter Weaver
Retired

Bishop Mark Webb
Upper New York Area

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner
Retired

Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker
Retired

Bishop Woodie W. White
Retired

Bishop D. Max Whitfield
Retired

Bishop Richard B. Wilke
Retired

Bishop William H. Willimon
Retired

Bishop Richard J. Wills, Jr.
Retired

Bishop Joe A. Wilson
Retired

Bishop David K Yemba
Retired

Bishop John Wesley Yohanna
Nigeria Area