Reclaiming The Gospel of Peace

Challenging the Epidemic of Gun Violence

Sharon Ely Pearson

Feb/2015, 208 Pages, Paperback, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819232021



How churches can work to stem gun violence

Over 300 Episcopalians came together in Oklahoma City in April 2014 to renew their commitment to the Gospel call to make peace in a world of violence. Through deep conversation, prayer, and skill building the event empowered the Episcopal Church to address violence and reclaim its role in society as workers for nonviolence and peace.

This book is one of the outcomes of that event - resources to help dioceses, congregations, and individuals reclaim the Gospel message of peace for our society. Divided into four sections - Proclaim: The Gospel, Sustain: The Witness, Reclaim: The Response and Our Prayers - topics are offered in the areas of advocacy, education, liturgy, and pastoral care that our Church can use to address the culture of violence within and outside of the Church, the reader will hear the Gospel proclaimed through personal stories of witness from key leaders in the Church today, including Justin Welby, Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop Ed Konieczny, Eugene Sutton, Mark Beckwith, Kay Collier McLaughlin, James Michael Dowd, Matthew Ellis, and others.

Topics include: systemic/root cause of violence, suicide/mental health, hate crimes, gang violence, race and violence, advocacy, gun violence, bullying, gender-based violence, and non-violence. Reflection questions follow each chapter with a comprehensive study guide for group use included.

Sharon Ely Pearson a retired Christian educator, editor, and author with 35-plus years of experience in Christian formation on the local, judicatory, and church-wide level. Known for her knowledge of published curricula across the church, she has written or edited numerous books. She is a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary and a lifelong Episcopalian. She lives in Norwalk, Connecticut.

“I found Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace: Challenging the Epidemic of Gun Violence to be a very helpful resource for contemplating reasons and methods of reducing gun violence. I am especially gratified that the faith community is taking such a stand on the issue. Keeping our communities, our families, and our children safe from gun violence is at its core a moral imperative.”––Ron Pinciaro, Executive Director, Connecticut Against Gun Violence"Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace offers hope to all of us working to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country. Here you will find imaginative and grace-filled ways by which we can be faithful followers of the Prince of Peace. As a Co-Convenor of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, I am honored to be associated with this work and I enthusiastically commend this book as a rich resource for participation in God’s mission of restoration and reconciliation.”––The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Ph.D., Bishop Diocesan, Episcopal Church in Connecticut

“This book examines this heartbreaking, politically charged issue of gun violence from many angles, considering numerous ways in which we as individuals and as a church can help to stem the tide of violence. It offers no simple solutions, but makes it clear that each of us has a role to play in reclaiming the gospel of peace.”––The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies

Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace was a transformative gathering in response to the epidemic of gun violence in 2014. Sharon Pearson has masterfully compiled the presentations and resources from the event, woven in additional valuable information pertaining to gun violence prevention, and the result is an outstanding book that is sure to become a well used resource for any individual or faith community tackling the work of bringing an end to gun violence.”––The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior, Bishop, Episcopal Church in Minnesota

“This powerful book invites Christians of all-denominations to constructively engage in ending gun violence. Demonstrating that our culture of violence is the same culture of violence that crucified Jesus, the writings in this book offer practical and fruitful ways to be in dialog with those whose stance might be different than our own. The process and stories told here demonstrate the Church at its best––building a faithful witnessing community that testifies to the Christian hope, while providing concrete steps to facilitate transformative conversations and practices in our wider communities.”––Dr. Elizabeth L. Windsor, Christian Formation Specialist, the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church and Director of Faith Formation, St. Matthew's United Methodist Church, Acton, Massachusetts“A thoughtful, beautifully edited call to action resource. Each chapter speaks to respectfully working to end violence, including a powerful service for healing and peace. This book should not be on your office shelf, it should be in your hands, your mind, and your heart.”––Deborah Bell Rodahaffer, Director of Christian Education, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Louisville, KY, and chair of “Hope in the Midst of Crisis: From Tragedy to Healing through Forgiveness,” the 87th Kanuga Christian Formation Conference“December 14, 2012 is a day that changed my life and the lives of countless other men, women, and children in Connecticut and throughout the world. My commitment to working for and witnessing to the Prince of Peace was deepened on that day. Episcopalians from all over the world gathered in Oklahoma City a year after the tragedy of Sandy Hook as part of a profound and moving witness to our collaborative commitment to the Gospel of Peace. This collection of essays from speakers at that conference enables us to further share the voices we heard and more importantly it provides excellent resources for further prayer and action. May we, as the Rev. Stephen Holton's invitation says, ‘Open our hands to receive the healing gift of God and take up the Gospel of Peace.’”––The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan, Episcopal Church in Connecticut“An excellent resource to use personally and in small groups to begin the conversation on violence. Each of the chapters provides a personal story that opens the door for conversation. The reflections and deeper questions at the end allow readers to prayerfully partner with others to work with our broken communities and work towards uniting them to communities of peace. Grounded in the gospel, this resource provides voices and stories to move our conversations on gun violence from ones of uncertainty to conversations of understanding, witness, and peace.”––Darlene H. Kalfahs, Resource Center Director, East Central Synod of Wisconsin (ELCA)

"The young demonstrators on the streets of Ferguson cried out: 'This is what democracy looks like' – it is raw, powerful and uncomfortable. You could say the same about Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace. Thoughtful and provocative writing at the intersection of faith and one of the central issues of our day in America ... how can we follow the Prince of Peace while a citizens arms race spirals out of control. This is what theology looks like!"––The Very Rev. Mike Kinman, Dean, Christ Church Cathedral

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