The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts has responded with a surge of activism to the shooting death of Jorge Fuentes, 19, a “contrarian kid” who became “a standout counselor at his church’s youth programs” and an enthusiastic participant in mission trips.
Fuentes was killed more than a year ago, and the diocese’s commitment to diminishing urban violence by treating the root causes has been building every since.
Lisa Wangsness of the Boston Globe writes:
A largely white denomination once dubbed “the Republican Party at prayer,” and more recently best known for its internal battles over gay bishops, the Episcopal Church has quietly increased its commitment to combating urban violence in Boston and nearby cities, a commitment that shaped Fuentes’s life.
The church has focused on prevention, embracing a simple philosophy: Begin with children as young as 5, give them help with homework, playtime, field trips, and cultural activities. Invite them, as they become teenagers, to work on community service projects and help with younger people. Then, as they reach adulthood, offer them a job and a chance to lead. Put children at the center of a caring community, the thinking goes, and they will be OK.
Led by Bishop Tom Shaw, the diocese is also lobbying the Massachusetts legislature to stricter gun laws.