Gun Violence Prevention Updates: April 2024


Along with the quarterly meetings, the Church of the Brethren Gun Violence Prevention Action Team (COB-GV-AT) has launched a monthly newsletter. Each issue addresses different topics with the past months having focused on National Gun Violence Survivors Week 2024 (January 22-26), Youth Violence Prevention Week (April 22-26, 2024), and International Bereaved Mother’s Day (May 5). If you would like to join our email list to receive our monthly newsletters (as well as previous editions), please reach out to Mandy Park at [email protected].

Additionally, the COB-GV-AT is putting together a toolkit with resources for congregations, a work in progress but one they are actively adding to as time goes on. This toolkit includes worship and educational resources, worksheets/exercises, slides from organizing meetings, all previous newsletters, and further information on the toolkit.  If you are interested in accessing these resources and reading more on them, please find the folder here.

Quarterly Meetings

In December, the Church of the Brethren Gun Violence Prevention  Action Team (COB-GV-AT) held its first quarterly meeting. Building on organizing work done throughout 2023 including a public vigil and witness at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, this was the opportunity for any Brethren members or friends to learn about the collaborative achievements of the group and begin to connect with a newly forming network of Brethren active in gun violence prevention. The initial meeting was a great success, with initial topics including, “What does it mean to address gun violence prevention from a Jesus-centered perspective?” The main focus was to share potential paths of action and help attendees to find where they could best fit and participate. They left with the call to find someone in their congregation or another local Church of the Brethren congregation who might share their thoughts. Together, they would consider what the needs in their immediate community are surrounding the issue of gun violence prevention and what their own congregation might do.

The second quarterly meeting was held in March, where there was an opportunity to become reenergized in the work and build with the group. The meeting was well attended by Brethren folk all over the country. With initial discussions on the intersections of gun violence and racial justice. OEP's Racial Justice Organizer, Maree Iboaya, gave an engaging presentation that prompted deep reflection and rich learning about the racialized aspect of gun violence and topics to keep in mind as we work on gun violence moving forward. The main focus of the meeting was to introduce a new role, Congregational Ambassadors. This invitation was designed to provide a clear role for members of the COB who wanted to organize their own congregations to get educated and involved. Ten Ambassadors signed up from ten different congregations, with two main job assignments: to attend quarterly meetings to learn, connect, and be inspired, and secondly, to bring ideas and actions back to their congregation that take public action on the issue of gun violence.  If you would like to know more about what it means to be a Congressional Ambassador,  please find the link to the role description here. If you have any questions or would like to become a Congressional Ambassador in your area, please contact Mandy Park at [email protected].

The third quarterly meeting is coming up soon, on May 4th at 7:30 PM ET / 6:30 PM CT / 5:30 PM MT / 4:30 PM PT. The main topic will be to prepare for launching the 2024 Wear Orange campaign (June 7-9) in every congregation. If you are interested in attending and learning more about the work of this group, please rsvp here.

Church of the Brethren Annual Conference

The COB-GVP-AT has also been hard at work preparing for Annual Conference 2024 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to the exhibit hall booth and inviting conference attendees to join them in another vigil and public witness, they will facilitate an equipping session on how congregations can get involved in gun violence prevention. 

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  • Anesu Makufa, Youth & Young Adult Peace Formation Organizer
    published this page in Blog 2024-04-17 13:24:27 -0400
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