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May 24, 2022

Siblings in Christ, 

Today was another dark day for our country. A teenager with a gun opened fire on an elementary school in Texas. As of now, we know that 18 children and 1 teacher were killed.

Let us pray.

God, giver of life, you intend for humans to live together in peace. 

In this time of grief over gun violence, we pray for your presence among us. 

That, trusting in your mighty and gentle healing, we may live in hope, we pray:

make us instruments of your peace.

God of resurrection, we remember before you those who have died, children, teachers and staff of Robb Elementary School, in Uvalde.

We commend them to your eternal love. 

Grant healing and wholeness to the survivors who are wounded or traumatized and restore all whose spirits are maimed by such violence. 

That we may serve as your arms of care to those in distress, we pray:

make us instruments of your peace.

God of true might and redemptive mercy, receive our prayers, and grant us to become your instruments of peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Amen.

These prayer portions are taken for the Prayer for Lamenting Gun Violence in the hymnal supplement All Creation Sings, pg. 107.

It has only been 10 days since another teenager opened fire at Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, NY killing 10 Black shoppers and workers in a racially motivated act of terrorism.

According to the FBI, the United States has experienced 62 "active shooter" incidents so far in 2022. (The FBI defines an active shooter as, “...one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”) This is the highest tally in 20 years and represents a 52.2% increase from 2020 and a 96.8% increase from 2017.

Gun violence is a public health crisis and Oregon has not been immune. 

  • Thurston High School in 1998

  • Clackamas Town Center in 2012

  • Reynolds High School in 2014

  • Umpqua Community College in 2015

Houses of worship are not immune:

  • Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, nine days ago

  • Tree of Life synagogue in 2018

  • First Baptist Church in 2017

  • Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2017

The current generation of Oregon children and youth, from preschool to high school, live with the anxiety of gun violence and the threat of mass shootings in schools, theaters, malls, synagogues and churches. This impacts their physical, mental/emotional, spiritual and social health.
 

This is not normal, and we need not accept it. 
 
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for, they will be called children of God.” Lutherans are called, as are other Christians and those of other faith traditions, to be prophetic voices of vision and conscience while working for the common good from an ethic of love. Voices of young leaders in our state and nation are speaking out with the same clarity and power as those before them and are saying enough is enough and now is the time to end the gun violence.

What is our response?

Last weekend at Synod Assembly, your church passed the Lift Every Voice Oregon resolution in support of Ip 17 And Ip 18. 

Lift Every Voice Oregon is an interfaith coalition of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Native American spiritual leaders, Hindus Buddhists, Sikhs, other people of faith and people of just good will in Oregon.

IP 17 would ban the sale of large capacity magazines over 10; would require a permit and training to purchase any gun; would require a complete background check before purchase, closing the Charleston loophole; and would address the registration of “ghost” guns.

IP 18 would ban the manufacture and sale of semi-automatic assault style weapons which includes many handguns, while allowing current owners to keep those they own after registering for restricted use only.

We hold with love all those who have been lost to gun violence and those that loved them.  Let us work together and with our allies to make the world a safer place for our siblings, and our children.

With you on the Way,

Bishop Caesar

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Oregon Synod
2800 N. Vancouver Ave., Suite #101
Portland, OR 97227

(503) 413-4191
Bishop Laurie Larson Caesar- BishopLaurie@OregonSynod.org
Bishop's Associate Juan Carlos La Puente- juancarlos@OregonSynod.org
Bishop's Associate Pr. Melissa Reed- pastormelissa@OregonSynod.org
Synod Office (Jemae McCanna)- office@OregonSynod.org 
Disaster Preparedness Team (Jan Wierima)- beprepared@oregonsynod.org
 






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Oregon Synod, ELCA · 2800 N Vancouver Ave, Suite 101 · Portland, OR 97227 · USA