Like so many in the Episcopal Church, my heart breaks each time we endure the tragedy of gun violence in our communities. Most recently, we have been touched by those killed and injured in Buffalo; in Uvalde; and, last Thursday evening, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama.
I want you to know I have reached out to Bishop Glenda Curry in the Diocese of Alabama and assured her of our heartfelt concern and prayers. Here in the Diocese of Chicago, we understand the tragedy and devastation of gun violence, as we so often find ourselves praying for victims and their families. We understand the trauma of gun violence, and we feel a deep need to take action.
Many people in the Diocese of Chicago have reached out in the wake of the violence in Alabama. We are all acutely aware of wanting our worshipping communities to be open and welcoming while also being places of safety, refuge, and comfort. While I don’t have any easy answers for how we proceed, I want to share these resources from our longstanding partner, the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, including webinars, safety assessments, and planning tools.
I know that all of us in our diocese care deeply for the safety of all God’s children, and we will continue taking action to address the scourge of violence. To that end, I recommend the advocacy resources of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, including a webinar taking place on Friday at noon Central, and the work of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, which offers education, advocacy, prevention and liturgical resources.
God bless and keep you,
Bishop-elect Paula Clark