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Honoring Victims of Gun Violence: Resources for Your Faith Community

Engaging in the National Vigil and December Sabbath

By Andre Gobbo, November 25, 2019


This December, people around the country are gathering to honor and remember those who have lost their lives to gun violence. This is a powerful opportunity to show solidarity with advocates nationwide and hold victims in the Light.

Below are some helpful resources for you and your house of worship. If you have any questions, please reach out to Andre Gobbo, co-chair of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, at andre@fcnl.org.

Jump to: National Vigil | December Sabbath | Other Actions and Event Ideas | Helpful Language and Messaging

National Vigil

The National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence will be on Dec. 4 from 7-9 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. The vigil was originally held on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting and has since expanded to honor victims of all forms of gun violence.

If you can’t make it to D.C. for the event, we encourage you to host a local vigil in your community. You can find more information about the National Vigil and how to host a local vigil below.

Note: Your local vigil doesn’t have to take place on the same day as the National Vigil. Feel free to host it at a time that works best for you and your community.

December Sabbath

If you are unable to attend the National Vigil and don’t have the opportunity or means to host a local vigil, we ask that you discuss gun violence prevention during your house of worship’s time of prayer over the weekend of Dec. 12-15. Below is a list of resources available to help you and your house of worship get started.

Jump to: Christianity | Judaism | Islam | Unitarian Universalist | Buddhism

Christianity

Sermons

Prayers and Readings

Hymns

  • A short list of Presbyterian hymns can be found here. If you would like to download more hymns, see here.

Other Resources

Judaism

Sermons

Prayers

Other Resources

Islam

Prayers

Unitarian Universalist

Sermons

  • Post-Las Vegas Sermon – Rev. David Miller (2018), courtesy of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, Virginia
  • Politics of the Broken-Hearted – Rev. Dr. J. Carl Gregg (2012), courtesy of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, Maryland
  • Preventing Gun Violence – Rev. Dr. J. Carl Gregg (2013), courtesy of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, Maryland

Buddhism

Other Actions and Event Ideas

Your faith community can also take direct action on gun violence. Below are a handful of sample actions that you can ask members of your house of worship to take.

  • Postcard campaign: Have your house of worship write postcards asking their members of Congress to take action on this issue. Sample language can be found below
  • Write an op-ed or letter-to-the-editor: A great way to draw attention to an issue is writing about it for your local media outlets. Be sure to mention your member of Congress by name – many Congressional offices pay attention when their names are mentioned in local media outlets
  • Voter registration drive: Organizers of the National Vigil are asking anyone who hosts a local vigil to include a voter registration drive at their service. Check your local rules and regulations about how to set this up.
  • Hold a separate event other than a local vigil. Some ideas include:
    • Shoes We Can Never Fill: Provide a visual of empty shoes or clothes on a clothesline outside of your place of worship and invite the media.
    • Points of Light: Light tealight candles depicting the number of people who have been lost to gun violence since Newtown or light candles representing the number of local gun violence victims.
    • Fasting for Action: Have a continuous 2,000 hour fast (12 weeks) where people commit to fasting for one day outside their elected officials’ office for gun violence victims.
    • Acts of Kindness: Perform a specific number of acts of kindness to honor the number lost to gun violence in your community since Newtown.

Helpful Language and Messaging

If you plan on reaching out to members of Congress (either directly through writing or calling, or indirectly via an event or the media), use the resources below to inform your language and messaging.

Background Checks

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Gun Violence Prevention 

Gun violence is a public health crisis that our country has been facing for decades. While it’s the mass shootings that grab the headlines, gun violence comes in far more common and pernicious forms. Suicides, accidental deaths, domestic violence, and homicides in urban areas and communities of color all take a toll on our society. We seek a society where we can feel safe in our communities doing ordinary activities without the risk of violent death.

Andre Gobbo

  • Legislative Representative, Domestic Policy

Andre Gobbo adds capacity to the Domestic Policy team by handling constituent queries, writing action alerts and sign-on letters, assisting with lobbying visits, creating informational content, supporting coalition relationships, and helping execute FCNL’s legislative strategies. He primarily works on issues relating to economic justice and gun violence prevention but also assists other domestic policy initiatives. He also serves as the co-chair of the Policy & Advocacy subcommittee within the Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence coalition.