Pastor’s Ponderings

On Wednesday, March 22nd, Reba, and I will be joining in what is anticipated to be over 800 United Methodists and others from other denominations along with advocacy groups in our First Annual Advocacy Day in Lansing Michigan. We will begin our day at the Central United Methodist Church of Lansing, meeting with groups and elected officials from throughout our state. This will be a day of prayer, public witness, and meeting with elected officials about gun safety. Prior to that day, we along with those who will be attending, will participate in three training events to learn more about violence and to prepare ourselves to meet with our elected officials.

Our Michigan Area Conference in 2022 passed legislation, brought to us by Church and Society, to bring justice through action against gun violence which is at the core values of our United Methodist Theology and biblical studies. To fulfill our obligation in meeting the legislation that we approved at conference, beginning last fall, plans were made and cooperation was sought, not just within the United Methodist Church but across denominational lines, inviting other advocacy groups to join us as we work to reduce gun violence in our state. We are advocating for reduced violence in our country and around the world. By meeting together, we are going to add energy to justice and put our words into action as we begin to fulfill our commitment to reduce gun violence.

The starting point for our advocacy day is to ask legislators to consider these points and bring legislation forward that would address these issues:

  1. Safe storage of guns that would require guns in homes with children to be locked away safely.
  2. Universal background checks for all firearms purchased not just handguns.
  3. Extreme Risk Protection Orders allowing judges to temporarily remove firearms from individuals that may be at risk for harming themselves or others.
  4. Restrictions on ability of domestic abusers to own firearms.

It has become all too often in our modern day lives to hear about mass shootings which average more than one per day in the USA. For a number of years, we have as a society struggled to come to a place where we no longer will accept the violence caused by individuals using firearms. Very recent surveys taken in our state of Michigan and across our country show overwhelming support for these four legislative needs.

We have committed to being in Lansing on March 22nd and invite anyone from our church or community to join in being a part of this Advocacy Day. I ask for your prayers in supporting this important day for us as a state and country.

I share this with you having been a former hunter and a person who has enjoyed many experiences with firearms yet recognizing the responsibility that I had, and others must have in owning and using firearms. I recognize and support our rights to own and bear arms yet hold individuals and society to a high standard in the protection of sacred life and the right to continue on living which should not be taken away from us by someone using a firearm. I believe these steps are essential and are needed steps to be taken as a society to protect all of God’s children.

I know that these steps are a beginning, a starting place, and that these steps will not completely eliminate gun violence, but for some who will be spared from the possibility of gun violence, these steps are to be praised in the saving of lives and injuries.

I invite you to come with us to Lansing. I also invite you to have dialogue with me on how we can make our homes, communities, and our country a safer place for everyone to live. Let’s not forget how strong prayer can be as we put action with our prayers.

Pastor Gary

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