Supporting A Call to End Gun Violence

Clergy and staff from St. Paul’s will attend the Concord High School walkout on Wednesday, March 14th at 10:00 am. (This is not a political protest, rather a seventeen minute remembrance of the seventeen souls who were lost to gun violence one month ago in Parkland, Florida.) We encourage you to join us and support the brave efforts of students across the nation who are making their voices heard.

Below you can find:

  • A statement from the Greater Concord Interfaith Council
  • A letter from Bishop Rob
  • Lament for Culture of Gun Violence written by Bishop Rob

A statement from the Greater Concord Interfaith Council:

The Greater Concord Interfaith Council represents a variety of faith traditions and communities. In our work of seeking common ground we wish to support the efforts of students at Concord High School and high schools around the country who are advocating for an end of gun violence. We affirm their call to end gun violence through education, legislation and peaceful activism.

We encourage all people, regardless of faith tradition, to join us in responding to the calls for justice our young people are issuing. Please join us in supporting the following three actions planned at this time:

● March 14 – 10am School walkouts – Concord High School and high schools across the country

● March 24 – 10am March for Our Lives – locally in Concord and Portsmouth, nationally in Washington DC

● April 20 – the 20th anniversary of Columbine (TBD)

Now is the time for us to set aside differences, seek common ground, and listen to the cries of our young people, cries for safety and justice at Concord High School and beyond.

A letter from Bishop Rob:

February 28, 2018
Dear Friends in Christ’s Service,
God’s mission is undeniable.  There is an undeniable movement of thousands of youth across the country in active and undeterred response to the massacre at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Their call to end gun violence through changes in gun legislation presents the Church of New Hampshire with an invitation to do more than offer our thoughts and prayers.  I urge the clergy of the Church of New Hampshire to support students, parents of students, teachers and school staff during school walkouts planned for Wednesday, March 14th. On that day, I will join other faith leaders in a fast and offer prayers of lamentation. A Service of Lament and Call for Repentance will be made available as this day approaches.
Also, I plan to travel to the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. that will take place on Saturday, March 24th (the day before the Sunday of the Passion:Palm Sunday). Alternatively, on the same day, there are marches being planned all over the country, including in Boston. If you are planning to attend the March for Our Lives, or know of people in your congregation who plan to attend, please let us know by replying to this email so we can coordinate our presence together.
Finally, I commend to you a Litany after Gun Violence composed by our friend Bishop Stephen Lane of Maine for use during or in place of the Prayers of the People in coming weeks as you deem appropriate. Other resources for liturgy and gun violence prevention can be found on our website.
With my prayers and gratitude for your pastoral presence and leadership in these times.
Faithfully yours,

A Lament for Culture of Gun Violence composed by Bishop Rob

Most holy God, source of all being, of all hope, of all life

We confess our worship of unholy things fashioned not by you, but by our own hands,

Have mercy on us

We confess our fascination with guns and weapons that have for far too long claimed the lives of the undefended, the vulnerable, and especially children who have been wounded and killed in acts of random terror in a nation founded on the promise to protect life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Have mercy on us

We confess our attachment to the means of violence and bloodshed claiming that they alone can protect and save us those who wish us harm.

Have mercy on us

We confess that we have not kept our eyes from watching what is worthless, allowing the imagination of our hearts to be misshapen by media, film, and games that glorify violence and trivialize the dignity of human life.

Have mercy on us.

We confess our lack of courage and clarity in public policies that too often weigh individual rights over the common weal

Have mercy on us

We confess how we have too often appealed to your name and that of the name of Jesus to justify our right to defend and protect, even when you gave up your defenses and even died on the cross to rise and again, destroying the powers of sin and death.

Have mercy on us

We confess how we have allowed the gods of merchandising and consumerism to drown out the cries of the injured and the grieving.

Have mercy on us

We confess how the epidemic of gun deaths among blacks in our society is mostly overlooked or ignored, even accepted, and do not result in the same outcry and outrage as the slaughter of white children.

Have mercy on us.

We confess that we have ascribed to the facile lie that “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” when what we need are more loving households, more caring neighbors, better funded and equipped schools, and hearts that hear your Gospel message of love and forgiveness.

Have mercy on us

O Blessed God of our deliverance, unfetter us all from the grip of the unholy trinity of poverty, racism, and guns.

Good Lord, deliver us.

O Blessed God of the prophets, if we cannot shout in the streets in our agony and rage, guide us to have the honest difficult conversations about what truly drives our fears.

Good Shepherd, lead us

Dear God of Holy Community, teach us to find that the only weapons we truly need are the swords of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation.

Holy One, defend us.

Dear God of Resurrection, show us that by peacefully and boldly dwelling in your Holy Name of I AM, the militias of hatred and fear will step back and fall to the ground.

O Christ, hear us and raise us

Give us courage for the facing of this hour and to your honor and glory.