Comments from the Clergy

Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence Opening Prayer

Public Rally for the 2nd Remembrance of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

~ Rev. Bruce R. Russell-Jayne

As the date of second anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting nears, we remember the children, teachers, and families of Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Will you please join me in a prayer for the victims of gun violence in Newtown and in Indianapolis?

“O God of Love, we come here today praying for a safe home, an Indianapolis where our families are nourished and protected by churches and schools and governments.  We want to be proud of our city; we want it to be a healthy and a life-giving community.  We strive to build a more wholesome future for our children and grandchildren.  We look to the God who loves children to guide us toward this vision.

But, for now, we find it hard to believe in such a splendid vision.

What we see instead is too many people’s lives taken away by guns.  We come here today with a strong memory of the horrendous tragedy of Newtown.  In spite of all the good things that have happened there in the past two years, that community continues to grieve. And the nightmare continues.  There have been nearly a hundred more school shootings since Newtown.  Here in Indianapolis, hundreds of families mourn loved ones killed by guns in the last two years.  Every time another shooting takes place, those who have lost a child to gun violence are overwhelmed by great feelings of sadness or anger.  We grieve with these families.  Guns on our streets makes us fear for our safety.  We are impatient with our leaders who haven’t taken effective action to stop this plague of gun violence.  We must cry out an essential truth – guns are killing our children.

We wonder if people are worshiping a God who loves Guns instead of a God who loves Children.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.  We come here today with great determination to make our children safer.  We pray for the guns to be removed from our streets.

If that were to happen, we believe there would be fewer tragic stories of lives taken by guns. If that were so, there would be respite for those who suffer the pain of losing a child, and the fear in the people could subside.  We would see inner-city children begin to believe their lives would not be ended too soon, and they could have hope for what lies ahead.  In order to realize this vision, we pray for a renewal of respect for the lives and security of each and every citizen of Indianapolis, remembering others love the sweetness of life as fully as we do. We pray for a future where each of us practice unwavering concern for all of our children and our children have a sense of peace.  We pray for courage to stop gun violence – now.”