Faith leaders express concern over gun violence

Faith leaders express concern over gun violence



The following letter appeared in the Springfield Republican. It was signed by 55 clergy. We share it as an example of a public witness we can take.

Shalom Peter

The Rev. Dr. Peter A. Wells, Associate Conference Minister


To the Springfield Community –


We are neither politicians, lobbyists, nor social scientists. We are leaders of the faith community who have come together to express our grief and concern over the epidemic of gun violence in America.

Although the nation has been shocked into radical awareness of gun violence because of Newtown, we know that gun violence has for too long been a plague throughout the country and in our own Springfield community. As much as we are saddened by Newtown, we are gravely worried about our town. This is where we live; this is where we want to live in safety and security.

We call to mind a medieval commentator who explained the commandment, “You shall not murder” in this manner: “One may murder by carelessness, by indifference, by the failure to save human life when it is in your power to do so.”

With that teaching in mind, we call on the members of our faith communities to step forward and support national, state, and local efforts for sensible gun control. We do not imagine that gun control laws will bring an end to deaths in America by guns, but we do know that something is horribly wrong in America. Consider the fact that in 2010 in 22 developed countries around the globe there were a total of 7,653 firearms deaths. That same year there were 29,771 deaths in the U.S. from guns.

Our traditions treasure the sanctity of life. We believe every human being contains a spark of the divine. If changing our gun laws can save one precious human life, we will have succeeded. If achieving sensible gun control does more than that (which we believe it will), we will all have done what our faith compels us to do. Indifference is not possible. Acting now is what we must do.

1. Rev. Nathaniel Anderson, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Wilbraham
2. Imam Wissam A. Baki, Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts
3. Cantor Elise Barber, Temple Beth El
4. Rev. Dr. Janet L. Burdewik, Pastor United Church of Christ
5. Sister M. Andrea Ciszewski, FSSJ, Superintendent of Catholic Schools
6. Archdeacon William Coyne, Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
7. Rev. Susannah Crolius, South Congregational Church
8. Rabbi Max Davis, Congregation Bnai Torah
9. Rev. Michael DeVine, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
10. Rev. William Dwyer, Christ Church Cathedral
11. Rev. Mitzi N. Eilts, Faith United Church, UCC
12. Sr. Mary Ferguson, Development Director, Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield
13. Rev. Derrick Fetz, St. Andrews Episcopal Church
14. The Rt.Rev. Douglas Fisher, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western MA
15. Rev. Dr. Mark E. Flowers, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church
16. Msgr. Juan F. García, Catholic Church
17. Rabbi Jerome Gurland
18. Rev. Jill Graham, Associate Conference Minister, Mass. Conference UCC
19. Bishop James Hazelwood, New England Synod - Evangelical Lutheran Church America
20. Rev. Harvey Hill, Saint David's Episcopal Church
21. Rev. Lauren Holm, Bethesda Lutheran & East Congregational Churches
22. Rabbi Devorah Jacobson, Jewish Geriatric Services
23. Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz, Temple Beth El
24. Cantor Martin Levson, Sinai Temple
25. Rev. David A. Lewis Sr., Faith Unlimited Institute, Calvary Baptist Church
26. Marisa Brown Ludwig, M. Div., South Congregational Church
27. Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, RC Bishop of Springfield, MA
28. Rev. Mark Mengel, Pastor, Holy Name Parish
29. Rev. John E. Mueller, Trinity United Methodist Church
30. Dean Jim Munroe, Christ Church Cathedral
31. Miriam Najimy, DHM Superior, Marian Center, Holyoke
32. Archbishop Timothy Paul, Archdiocese of New England in the Holy Christian Orthodox Church
33. Dr. Martin J. Pion, President Interfaith Council ( of Western Mass.)
34. Kathleen Popko, SP President, Sisters of Providence
35. Rev. Cristine V. Rockwell, Retired Assisting Chaplain, UMASS Amherst
36. Rev. Warren J. Savage, RC Diocese of Springfield, MA
37. Rev. Barbara Schenk, Foster Memorial Church UCC
38. Maxyne Schneider, SSJ President, Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield
39. The Rt. Rev. Gordon P. Scruton, retired Bishop Episcopal Diocese of Western MA
40. Rev. Jason A.H. Seymour, Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield
41. Imam Rasul Seifullah, Al-Baqi Islamic Center
42. Rabbi Mark Dov Shapiro, Sinai Temple
43. Suffragan Bishop Bruce K. Shaw, New Hope Pentecostal Church
44. Fr. Jose Siesquen, Roman Catholic priest
45. Peter T. Sylver, Pastor Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Presbyterian Church
46. Rev. Jay Terbush, First Church of Christ in Longmeadow
47. Rev. Barbara Thrall, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Holyoke
48. Rev. Kelly Turney, East Longmeadow United Methodist Church
49. Rev. Meredyth Wessman Ward, Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, Wilbraham
50. Rev. Dr. Peter A. Wells, Associate Conference Minister, Mass. Conference, UCC


Peter Wells

Peter Wells is the Associate Conference Minister serving churches and clergy in the Central and Hampshire Assocations and the Coordinator of Mission and Justice programs.

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