US churches renew call for action on guns after Newton mass killing

By agency reporter
December 16, 2012

The President of the National Council of Churches USA has expressed "shock and the profoundest grief" over the death of 20 children and seven adults at the hands of a gunman in an elementary school today in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

"As a parent, I cannot comprehend the grief other mothers and fathers are feeling tonight," said NCCUSA President Kathryn Lohre. "I share President Obama's instincts to hug my own child especially close tonight. And my heart breaks to know so many parents in Connecticut are no longer able to do that."

Tragedies like the shootings in Newton are impossible for theologians and clergy to explain," Lohre said. "But we seek comfort in our faith that our God is a God of love, and God's heart is breaking tonight, too."

Lohre pointed out that the National Council of Churches has been expressing its concern about gun violence for decades.

The Council’s most recent resolution, “Ending Gun Violence, A Call to Action” in 2010, called for a unified effort on the part of churches, government and individuals to address the problem.

The resolution called upon “our local, state, and federal legislators to enact reforms that limit access to assault weapons and handguns, including closing the so-called federal 'gun show loophole,' which allows for the purchase of firearms from private sellers without submitting to a background check, or providing documentation of the purchase.

The resolution called upon persons of faith to “prayerfully, financially, and otherwise support the NCCUSA staff in coordinating ecumenical efforts for gun violence reduction, including preparing educational materials about the magnitude of gun violence, developing avenues for dialogue among gun owners and gun control advocates within our congregations, and offering a faithful witness in cooperating with inter-faith and nonreligious anti-gun violence advocacy organizations.”

Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States.

The NCCUSA's member faith groups — from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches — include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the country.

* The full text of the NCCUSA resolution can be downloaded here (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document) - http://www.ncccusa.org/NCCpolicies/endinggunviolence.pdf

* National Council of Churches USA - http://www.ncccusa.org

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