What shall we say? Responding to the shooting in Las Vegas.
You will likely be discussing this shooting, and responses to it, at church Sunday and in the coming days. The Gun Violence Pastoral Cheat Sheet offers guidance on how to speak about gun violence.
Many of us woke up Monday to the news that another mass shooting had occurred in the United States. The largest, in fact, in modern American history.
As the numbers of the dead and the wounded climbed throughout that day and into the next, many people responded, and discussed the proper way to respond.
“Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” was a common refrain, as were critiques of those who “politicized” the issue by drawing attention to the lack of adequate gun laws in the U.S.
You will likely be discussing this shooting, and responses to it, at church Sunday and in the coming days. With that in mind, I share with you a resource grounded in scripture and in our church statements on gun violence that was created to aid these conversations.
The Gun Violence Pastoral Cheat Sheet is a quick-reference resource offering guidance for pastors on how to speak about gun violence in congregational settings that run the gamut in their views on this issue.
Earlier this year, the Rev. Lindsey Long Joyce, a pastor in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference, approached staff of Church and Society with the idea for this resource. She had attended our Faith and Guns Forum last fall and saw a need for a resource for faith leaders on how to address gun violence. She had pastored a church in Chicago, where she regularly encountered the hard, painful, unrelenting reality of gun violence, often over a coffin in a funeral service. Her pastoral struggles with gun violence, along with her advocacy involvement and desire to aid fellow Christians in faithfully engaging this reality, led her to propose and create this resource.
I hope that, whether you are clergy or lay, you prayerfully review the Gun Violence Pastoral Cheat Sheet ahead of Sunday.
It is precisely at times like these — when we do not know what to say — that we, the church, are called to give a word. May that word be one of hope, comfort, and peace in the midst of strife.
To learn more about how United Methodists understand gun violence and our call to respond, visit our gun violence prevention page.