Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral (Episcopal), was selected this past week to serve as the new chairperson of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, a diverse national coalition of denominations and faith-based organisations working to end gun violence.
The announcement comes a short time before the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Two days before that, the Newtown Action Alliance and supporters plan to honour the memories of gun violence victims through acts of kindness and service around the DC metro area and to hold a National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence at the National Cathedral.
Dean Hall will participate in this press conference and will preside over the vigil on 12 December 2013.
In his first year at the Cathedral, Dean Hall has made gun violence prevention by faith communities one of his major concerns and in a short time has become a national leader on the issue. The Cathedral is committed to focus attention on four particular initiatives that will create specific action to curb killing in the United States.
Building upon Cathedral efforts to raise awareness earlier in 2013 – such as offering prayers with legislators on Capitol Hill in January; hosting a national Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath in March; welcoming the PICO Lifelines to Healing Campaign national bus tour over the summer; and marking the twenty-second national observance of Children’s Sabbath with the Children’s Defense Fund in October, with the theme “Beating Swords into Plowshares” – the Cathedral will honour the families and victims of the Newtown shooting as well as all those affected by gun violence in the United States in a solemn memorial service next week.
“Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence strongly urges Congress to act today on reasonable measures to save lives,” said Dean Hall.
He continued: “Our organisation brings together more than 50 prominent national faith denominations and organisations committed to reducing gun violence. America’s faith community firm believes that background checks on all gun sales is a common-sense, proven measure that will help save lives.”
Dean Hall succeeds James E. Winkler, who led Faiths United from the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society and is now moving to the National Council of Churches USA.