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US General Convention: Delegates protest in the streets at gun violence

15 July 2022

Melodie Woerman/ENS

Bishops march through the streets of Baltimore, past the site of a fatal shooting just hours before, to protest at continuing gun violence

Bishops march through the streets of Baltimore, past the site of a fatal shooting just hours before, to protest at continuing gun violence

HUNDREDS of participants in the Episcopal Church’s General Convention marched through the streets of Baltimore, past the site of a fatal shooting just hours before, to protest at continuing gun violence.

Timothy Reynolds was shot and killed after an altercation in the street, the day before the 80th Convention convened last Friday.

The Bishop of Southern Virginia, the Rt Revd Susan Haynes, arrived on the scene minutes after Mr Reynolds had been shot. “I just felt the need to stay there and pray, because there was nothing else I could do. I had a sense that this man was dying, and he needed to have prayer as he died,” she said.

The march was co-ordinated by the Bishops United Against Gun Violence group, and took place the day after the shooting.

At the scene, the Bishop of Maryland, the Rt Revd Eugene Sutton, said that the killing was not an accident. “It was the bringing together of racism, of poverty and violence. We’re going to pray for all of the victims — all of the victims of the violence that’s in their hearts, the violence that’s in their hands, and the violence that comes from angry people having access to guns.”

The Presiding Bishop, the Most Revd Michael Curry, who joined the marchers, urged people to “pray until no child of God, no one made in God’s image, will ever be sacrificed, that violence will leave this land and this earth. Pray that one day every man, woman, and child can sit under their own vine and fig tree, and we’ll learn how to lay down our swords and shield, down by the riverside.”

Bishops United comprises more than 100 Episcopalian bishops working to end gun violence in the US through advocacy and liturgy, including through holding vigils and services.

Deputies to the Convention also stood at the end of the first day to affirm a resolution that recognised and honoured three members of the congregation at St Stephen’s, Alabama, who had been murdered at that Episcopal church in another shooting last month. A 70-year-old visitor to the church attended a potluck dinner, and shot three elderly members of the congregation with a handgun. Other church members restrained the suspect until police arrived.

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