The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has prepared a bulletin insert to assist congregations in conducting a worship observance of the anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., gun-violence tragedy that occurred Dec. 14, 2012.
In that tragedy, 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School and six adult staff members were killed in a deadly assault by Adam Lanza. He also killed his mother before going to the school.
The children who died were six and seven years old.
Bill Mefford, GBCS director of Civil & Human Rights, envisions congregations including the bulletin inserts in their worship materials on Dec. 15, and also reading from the pulpit the names and ages of the persons who died during the massacre.
"All of the great movements for change in history were either birthed or were intimately accompanied by a spiritual awakening," Mefford said. "Seeing the inaction over the last year in response to the gun shooting tragedy in Newtown — all the while almost 10,000 people have been killed by guns — should drive us to prayer and reflection. And then to action."
Mefford emphasized that you can help birth this in your own congregation Sunday, Dec.15, by taking five minutes during the normal prayer time to read aloud the names of all those who died that day and to pray a simple prayer.
"We have created a bulletin insert to help your church pray and reflect on what happened and what can happen," Mefford said.
United Methodist Resolution
The bulletin insert lists the names and ages of the victims of one of the worst gun-violence incidents in U.S. history. It also includes a suggested prayer, and an excerpt from the United Methodist Resolution “Gun Violence” that states violence to children and youths is a primary concern for United Methodists.
Violence to children and youths is a primary concern for United Methodists.
“We call upon the church to affirm its faith through vigorous efforts to curb and eliminate gun violence,” states the
The reverse side of the insert challenges congregation members to put their faith in action. It lists some startling facts about the environment that is contributing to the nation's spate of gun violence, and suggests steps to take to prevent it.
The bulletin insert is free and can be downloaded in .pdf format (Adobe Acrobat) from the GBCS website. To download the bulletin insert, you need to register online at Remembering Newtown’s Victims.
Address of the download will be sent to you in the confirmation of your registering to use it.
For more information, Bill Mefford can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.