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#MarchEpiscopal joins #MarchforourLives

#MarchEpiscopal joins #MarchforourLives

The Cross Lobby, Episcopal News Service and the Episcopal Church are broadcasting a hashtag for this Saturday’s March for Our Lives – #MarchEpiscopal – as Episcopalians are participating in the nationwide march against school violence and mass shootings.

From USA Today:

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington will host an interfaith prayer vigil the night before the march and is providing housing and bagged lunches. The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is coordinating, along with its congregations, lodging and transportation options for students. 

The Epiphany Episcopal Church [Oak Hill, Va.] is offering housing, two meals and a night of music and reflection at their Peace Gathering on Friday. 

The Friday night vigil will take place at Washington National Cathedral (register here).

Writing in February about the plans for this weekend, Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde looked back to not-so-distant history:

On Thursday, May 2nd, 1963, more than a thousand children and teenagers defied a court injunction prohibiting them to march on the streets of Birmingham. Police arrested them all. The next day a thousand more took to the streets. Police met them with fire hoses set at pressures strong enough to tear flesh. When water did not deter them, the police used billy clubs and dogs. Still the young kept coming. “Don’t worry about your children,” King told frantic parents gathered in a mass meeting. “They are suffering for what they believe, and they are suffering to make this nation a better nation.”  

If you don’t know the story of the Children’s Crusade of 1963, now is a good time to learn. For we are witnessing a similar rising up of young people. Student leaders around the country are stepping in where adults have failed, compelling our elected leaders to address the issue of gun violence. What began as a call from survivors of Stoneman Douglas High School shooting has become a national movement.

We can ensure that they do not march alone.

The Episcopal Diocese of New York is gathering Episcopal participants, who will meet at Poets Corner in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; information can be found here.

The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, with Episcopal City Mission, is sending a bus to the Washington, D.C. march and welcoming participation with youth who are organizing to march in Boston.

From a statement issued on March 1, Lamentation to Action, from the dioceses of Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts, which can be read in full at the link above:

On March 24, many will make the pilgrimage to Washington, D.C.  Many will travel to Boston.  Still others will march in locally organized “sister” marches throughout our Commonwealth.  It is our fervent prayer that these coordinated events will be effective in moving the leaders of our nation to enact common-sense gun safety measures to proactively address the security of our schools and public places, including reinstatement of an assault weapons ban.

The Episcopal Church stands with the brokenhearted.  Let us pray together on March 14.  Let us stand up on March 24.  Let us move from lamentation to action for the sake of our children, for the soul of our nation and for the love of Jesus Christ.

The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, Bishop Diocesan, Western Massachusetts
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop Diocesan, Massachusetts
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan, Massachusetts

Also at the link above are listed a number of events taking place in the diocese, including a prayer service and a Saturday morning breakfast. Also linked: this blessing of marchers, from the fifth Sunday of Lent, from the Diocese of Western Massachusetts:

God of justice and peace,

Watch over your servants who will March For Our Lives next weekend.

They are witnesses to the truth that our children deserve to learn without fear, and that weapons of war have no place in our communities.

May all who gather in Washington, D.C., in Boston, and all over our Commonwealth, be a sign that precious in your sight is the death of your servants (Psalm 116: 13).

May all who march from this congregation be under your care and upheld by our prayers.

And may the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you for ever.

AMEN.

Is your parish or diocese responding or participating in Saturday’s march? Share your stories with us.

 

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