In response to the incessant gun violence and mass shootings rocking our nation, the Governing Board of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), at its annual Spring Meeting, passed a hard-hitting resolution on the issue, committing to increase its efforts to end the devastation and calling on its member congregations to do the same.
“As faith leaders in America, it is incumbent on us to address the escalating plague of gun violence in our nation,” starts the resolution. “Since the beginning of 2023 alone, mass shootings from coast to coast have resulted in the devastating loss of hundreds of lives. Appallingly, it feels as if no one and nowhere is safe – not our schools, colleges and universities, medical facilities, grocery stores, movie theaters, social halls, financial institutions, shopping malls, homes, churches, or other houses of worship…It is necessary and reasonable to act quickly and decisively because we do not have to live like this,” states the resolution.
NCC Governing Board Chair Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton of the CME Church, lamented the weak efforts to address gun violence: “It is unconscionable that more has not been done to keep our children and families from being massacred. The time is long past for real, meaningful action to better control weapons of war.”
Further, the resolution calls for congregations to use all their available resources to end the scourge of gun violence, to work across political lines and with faith and secular partners to find solutions to end gun violence and mass shootings, and to create safe spaces for those inundated with violence and provide care for victims/survivors.
“It is a national disgrace that we consistently choose assault weapons over protecting our children at schools, customers at malls, banks, markets, Bible study and too many other places, “ said Bishop Vashti McKenzie, President/General Secretary of NCC. “ We have failed as a nation to adopt common sense gun safety and keep assault-style weapons or firearms equipped with high-capacity magazines out of the hands of those who could abuse them.”
The resolution also calls for NCC member communions and congregations to “be attentive and offer a public witness and care to those in our communities who are susceptible to being perpetrators of gun violence, showing them grace and mercy, and attempting to put them in contact with resources that may help them choose a different path.”
In addition, the resolution calls on the President and Congress to quickly introduce and pass legislation that would end “the massacres from weapons of war in our communities,” and to hold public officials accountable for the lackluster and negligent legislative responses that occur after mass shootings. NCC has repeated calls for comprehensive gun violence reform and the banning of military-grade weapons in our communities.