House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church

From the President: The Task Before Us Is Not New

In the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, many Episcopalians have turned to their church and its leaders for comfort and pastoral guidance, but also for leadership in a fast-forming movement to fight gun violence.

Episcopalians involved in this movement are supported by a long history of legislation passed by the General Convention aimed at stopping the proliferation of guns in the United States. Perhaps most heartbreaking in retrospect is Resolution D004 passed in 2000.

It reads:

That the 73rd General Convention express deep concern about the repeated use of easily available hand guns and assault weapons by and against children and call upon Episcopalians to seek ways to develop community strategies and create sanctuaries for our children, so that all may come to identify and value themselves and others as the precious children of God that they are, and that they may come to know peace in their lives and to create peace for future generations.

The task now before us is not new. In this season, we remember that Jesus was born in a time of uncertainty and violence and that Herod’s slaughter of the innocents takes new forms in our own time. As we weep and wait again for the birth of the Christ Child, may we seek peace and work to end violence and the needless fear, grief and death that it produces. May we band together as the community of faith to protect and cherish all children so they may live lives of joy and wonder and peace.

–The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President, House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church