Discipleship Ministries' Statement on Nationwide Gun Violence
By Jeff Campbell
“This is what the LORD says: ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.’” – Jeremiah 31:15 (NIV)
We heard the news on the way home from our daughter’s graduation from eighth grade – another massacre, 19 children, two adults. And for a week I found no words. How does one celebrate the graduations of one’s children while other parents are burying theirs? Two weeks earlier a man with two handguns entered a California church: one dead, five injured – an act of hate. Days before a gunman killed 10 people in a Buffalo supermarket – a racist act of terrorism. A school. A church. A supermarket. Texas. California. New York.
PBS Newshour reports, “Recent years have seen some of the worst gun violence in U.S. history. In 2020, nearly 20,000 Americans lost their lives to guns, the highest toll in more than two decades; and the trend looks likely to continue through 2021.”* Twenty-thousand people in one year.
Calling all disciples – there is great suffering in our communities and God is calling us to live out our faith and work together for the transformation of the world!
Where do we begin?
The staff of Discipleship Ministries will be taking time to pause in prayer on Wednesday, June 15 at 11 a.m. CDT. We invite those that we serve to join us at The Upper Room Chapel, 1908 Grand Avenue, Nashville, TN; or streaming live on The Upper Room Facebook page. We do not seek to offer the trite “thoughts and prayers” in this service, but rather a moment for us to come together, with space to mourn with the mourners, and humbly ask God for guidance in our work together. We humbly ask how do we best support and encourage disciples in our churches and in the marketplace to put faith into action to reduce gun violence globally? Our worship is just the beginning of our journey. Working with partners, Scarritt Bennett Center and The James Lawson Institute for the Research and Study of Nonviolent Movements, we hope to offer opportunities to respond as faithful people to the evil of gun violence in our midst. We begin in lament, but we seek ways to activate our prayers and to advocate for change.
Lord, in your mercy move us to action, justice, prevention, and common sense. Bring us together to work for change and transformation.
Rev. Jeffrey M. Campbell
General Secretary / CEO
Discipleship Ministries | The United Methodist Church
Recommended Resources for Faithful Response to Gun Violence:
- The United Methodist Board of Church and Society on gun violence prevention
- Courageous Conversations with Youth on Gun Violence
- Lament: A Time to Call Out
- Courageous Conversations for the Church about Gun Violence
- Trauma Resources for Ministry with Families from the Michigan Annual Conference
Check back for updates.
Rev. Jeff Campbell is the General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries. He comes to this role having led Discipleship Ministries as the Associate General Secretary for Strategic Programming, where he coordinated the work of the agency around three strategic priorities: an Intentional Discipleship System in every church; equipping local churches to engage their communities; and lifting up and creating local, contextual resources globally. Rev. Campbell joined Discipleship Ministries in 2013 as Executive Director of Conference Relationships.