A Call to Prayer and Action in Response to Gun Violence

A Call to Prayer and Action in Response to Gun Violence

September 02, 2022

To address the crisis of gun violence in the U.S. and around the world, bishops are urging United Methodists to raise their prayers and contact their elected leaders. The Council of Bishops released a letter to the wider church Sept. 1. Read the letter below.

Read story from the United Methodist News Service
Read Council of Bishops letter (PDF)
Read press release from the Council of Bishops


A Call to Prayer and Action in Response to Gun Violence 

“Thou shall not kill.” -Exodus 20:13 

We are called as United Methodist Bishops to respond to the devastation and disruption due to gun violence. Communities around the world are traumatized, we are facing a global and national health crisis, and children, families, and communities are left with emotional scars that beg for angels of mercy and the healing balm of Gilead. 

The Bible declares in Exodus 20:13 “Thou shall not kill”—yet gun violence continues to escalate. In 2021 and 2022, 43 million more guns were sold in the United States, in addition to the 400 million guns already owned. As of June 2022, the United States has experienced over 300 mass shootings in this year alone. 

Gun violence is more than a U.S. problem. Across the globe, 44% of all homicides involve guns. According to Amnesty International, 2,000 people are injured every day by gun shots and more than 500 of them die. 

The Church is called to be an instrument of God’s grace. As people of prayer, we followers of Jesus are called to be “counter-cultural change makers.” To that end, we must reject the idolatry of guns and the distorted attachment to our right to own guns without safeguards for the communities of the world. 

This is a call to prayer, beginning this September, for all who follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace. This is a call to action for all to weep with those who weep and demand, insist on, and push for positive change from our elected officials. 

As United Methodists we have made our claim for a more excellent way to live and bring change. 

“As followers of Jesus, called to live into the reality of God’s dream of shalom as described by Micah, we must address the epidemic of gun violence so ‘that he may teach us his ways and the way we may walk in God’s paths.’ Therefore, we call upon United Methodists to prayerfully address gun violence in their local context.” (Book of Resolution #3428 2016) 

This call to prayer is not a shallow request but one that firmly believes that the collective prayers of God’s people will keep this issue in the forefront of our consciousness and guide our intentional discernment of the action needed to bring about change. 

The United Methodist Council of Bishops commits to leading as peacemakers and prophetic witnesses to make our communities safer by reducing the tragedy and trauma of daily homicides and suicides. We call people to prayer and to work with ecumenical and interfaith partners in our public witness. We call for congregations to use United Methodist Church resources for Bible study and advocacy in their efforts to reduce gun violence. We support the ban on assault weapons and urge Church and government support for communities affected by the trauma of gun violence. We are committed to sharing Christ centered compassion as we walk alongside those who have been victims of gun violence. We call on all United Methodist to advocate for safer communities, safer schools and building bridges to beloved community. 

Bishops of The United Methodist Church 
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, President
New York Episcopal Area 

Bishop Christian Alsted
Nordic/Baltic Area 

Bishop Sandra L. Steiner Ball
West Virginia Area and Harrisburg Area 

Bishop David Alan Bard
Michigan Area and Minnesota Area 

Bishop George W. Bashore
Retired 

Bishop Frank J. Beard
Illinois Area 

Bishop Bruce P. Blake
Retired 

Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe
Retired 

Bishop Heinrich Bolleter
Retired 

Bishop Benjamin Bon
Côte D'ivoire  Area 

Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr.
Sierra Leone Area 

Bishop Lawson Bryan
Retired 

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
San Francisco Area 

Bishop Ken Carder
Retired 

Bishop Kenneth H. Carter
Florida Area and Charlotte Area 

Bishop Ray W. Chamberlain
Retired 

Bishop Young Jin Cho
Retired 

Bishop Sharon A. Brown Christopher
Retired 

Bishop Charles N. Crutchfield
Retired 

Bishop G. Lindsey Davis
Retired 

Bishop Emílio J.M. De Carvalho
Retired 

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
Boston Area 

Bishop Gaspar Joao Domingos
Angola West Area 

Bishop Sally Dyck
Retired 

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling
Washington Area and Philadelphia Area 

Bishop Leonard E. Fairley
Louisville Area and Raleigh Area 

Bishop Robert E. Fannin
Retired 

Bishop Robert Farr
Missouri Area 

Bishop Violet L. Fisher
Retired 

Bishop Ciriaco Francisco
Manila Episcopal Area 

Bishop Lizzette Gabriel
Puerto Rico Area 

Bishop Elias Galvan
Retired 

Bishop Jose C. Gamboa, Jr
Retired 

Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster
Retired 

Bishop David Graves
Alabama-West Florida Area and South Georgia Area 

Bishop William Boyd Grove
Retired 

Bishop Alfred W. Gwinn, Jr
Retired 

Bishop Grant Hagiya
Los Angeles Area and Phoenix Area 

Bishop Laurie Haller
Iowa Area and Dakotas-Minnesota Area 

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
Louisiana Area 

Bishop Susan W. Hassinger
Retired 

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson
North Georgia Area 

Bishop Robert E. Hayes, Jr.
Retired 

Bishop L. Jonathan Holston
Columbia Area 

Bishop John L. Hopkins
Chicago Area 

Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata
Retired 

Bishop H. Hasbrouck Hughes, Jr.
Retired 

Bishop Janice R. Huie
Retired 

Bishop Joseph C. Humper
Retired 

Bishop William Hutchinson
Retired 

Bishop John G. Innis
Retired 

Bishop Neil L. Irons
Retired 

Bishop S. Clifton Ives
Retired 

Bishop Alfred Johnson
Retired 

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson
Retired 

Bishop Scott Jones
Houston Area 

Bishop Charles Wesley Jordan
Retired 

Bishop Rodolfo Juan
Davao Episcopal Area 

Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
Wisconsin Area 

Bishop Benjamin A. Justo
Retired 

Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer
Retired 

Bishop Owan Kasap
Southern Congo Area 

Bishop Kainda Katembo
Retired 

Bishop Jonathan Keaton
Retired 

Bishop Eduard Khegay
Eurasia Area 

Bishop Deborah Kiesey
Dakotas Area 

Bishop James R. King
Retired 

Bishop Walter Klaiber
Retired 

Bishop Arthur F. Kulah
Retired 

Bishop Clay F. Lee
Retired 

Bishop Linda Lee
Retired 

Bishop Paul L. Leeland
Retired 

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis
Virginia Area 

Bishop William B. Lewis
Retired 

Bishop Richard C. Looney
Retired 

Bishop Daniel O. Lunge
Central Congo Area 

Bishop Ernest Lyght
Retired 

Bishop Joao Somane Machado
Retired 

Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Ohio East Area 

Bishop Joel N. Martinez
Retired 

Bishop Marcus Matthews
Retired 

Bishop William T. McAlilly
Nashville Area 

Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey
Retired 

Bishop Calvin D McConnell
Retired 

Bishop Michael McKee
Dallas Area 

Bishop Marshall L. Meadors, Jr.
Retired 

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton
Retired 

Bishop C.P. Minnick, Jr.
Retired 

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi
Pittsburgh Area and Harrisburg Area 

Bishop Susan Morrison
Retired 

Bishop Gary Mueller
Arkansas Area 

Bishop Albert F. Mutti
Retired 

Bishop Mande Muyombo
North Katanga Area 

Bishop Emerito Nacpil
Retired 

Bishop Joaquina F. Nhanala
Mozambique Area 

Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa
Zimbabwe Area 

Bishop Alfred L. Norris
Retired 

Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo
Retired 

Bishop James Gregg Nunn
Oklahoma Area and Northwest Texas Area 

Bishop Karen P. Oliveto
Mountain Sky Area 

Bishop Øystein Olsen
Retired 

Bishop Fama Onema
Retired 

Bishop Donald A. Ott
Retired 

Bishop Bruce R. Ough
Retired 

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer
Ohio West Area 

ishop Jeremiah Park
Retired 

Bishop Joseph E. Pennel, Jr.
Retired 

Bishop Jose Quipungo
East Angola Area 

Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr.
Liberia Area 

Bishop Sharon Z. Rader
Retired 

Bishop Harald Rückert
Germany Area 

Bishop John W. Russell
Retired 

Bishop Ruben Saenz, Jr.
Great Plains Area and Fort Worth Area 

Bishop Roy L. Sano
Retired 

Bishop Robert Schnase
New Mexico and San Antonio Area 

Bishop John Schol
Greater New Jersey Area and Philadelphia Area 

Bishop Ann B. Sherer-Simpson
Retired 

Bishop Dan E. Solomon
Retired 

Bishop Leo A. Soriano
Retired 

Bishop Robert H. Spain
Retired 

Bishop Joseph C. Sprague
Retired 

Bishop Elaine Stanovsky
Greater Northwest Area 

Bishop Forrest C. Stith
Retired 

Bishop Thomas B. Stockton
Retired 

Bishop Patrick Streiff
Central & Southern Europe Area 

Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.
Mississippi Area 

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson
Retired 

Bishop Melvin Talbert
Retired 

Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor
Retired 

Bishop Solito K. Toquero
Retired 

Bishop Pedro Torio, Jr.
Baguio Area 

Bishop Julius C. Trimble
Indiana Area 

Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda
Eastern Congo Area 

Bishop Hans Växby
Retired 

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
Birmingham Area and Holston Area 

Bishop Daniel Wandabula
East Africa Area 

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Retired 

Bishop B. Michael Watson
Retired 

Bishop Peter Weaver
Retired 

Bishop Mark Webb
Upper New York Area 

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner
Retired 

Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker
Retired 

Bishop Woodie W. White
Retired 

Bishop D. Max Whitfield
Retired 

Bishop Richard B. Wilke
Retired 

Bishop William H. Willimon
Retired 

Bishop Richard J. Wills, Jr.
Retired 

Bishop Joe A. Wilson
Retired 

Bishop David K Yemba
Retired 

Bishop John Wesley Yohanna
Nigeria Area