Clergy representing many denominations from the St. Louis area will attend the vigil Save Children’s Lives at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday 25 October 2022to collectively mourn over 100 children who have died of gun violence in the St. Louis area over the past four years.
The vigil will be held at Mt. Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, 1600 Belt Avenue, 63112 and will launch an interfaith gun safety initiative. The program includes the mourning rituals of various faith traditions and ends with a candlelight ceremony and refreshments. The public is invited and a response is requested.
Many of these tragedies could have been avoided if guns were kept safe, and Women’s Voices for Social Justice and the City of St. Louis have an existing program to provide gun locks free of charge for pickup at some fire stations and public libraries.
“We believe houses of worship play a vital role in educating our community about gun safety,” said Rev. Rodrick Burton, senior pastor of New Northside Missionary Baptist Church and vice president of the Ecumenical Leadership Council.
“I don’t want to comfort another family who senselessly lost a child, a child whose death could have been avoided had a gun not been so readily available.”
Participating communities have access to gun safety programs developed by Everytown for Gun Safety and materials from the Stop, Lock and Drop it initiative developed by the St. Louis Violence Prevention Coalition.
Gun locks will also be distributed at the event and community partners will have information boards.
Maharat Rori Picker Neiss of the Jewish Community Relations Council said: “We know the power that is possible when communities come together. Our tradition teaches that to save one life is to save an entire world. If we can save a child’s life or prevent a single suicide, this initiative will be a success.”
Participating organizations include:
Archdiocese of St. Louis (Peace and Justice Commission), Ashrei Foundation (of the Central Reform Congregation), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Kansas City Field Division, Ecumenical Leadership Council of St. Louis, Employment Connections, Be SMART, of Everytown for Gun Safety, Faces Not Forgotten, Jewish Community Relations Council, Missouri Faith Voices, St. Louis Violence Prevention Coalition and Women’s Voices Raise for Social Justice.
Celebration of interfaith partnership on October 27th
Religious communities in the St. Louis metropolitan area continue to nurture friendships and join in bridge-building efforts that have transformed lives and communities.
The Greater St. Louis Interfaith Partnership will celebrate these friendships and recommit to improving lives and strengthening communities at their annual fundraising gala on October 27 at 5:30 p.m. at the Lambert International Airport Aero Event Space. The theme for 2022 is “Journeys for Friendship”.
Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Bishop Robert Farr of the United Methodist Church’s Missouri Conference, and Rev. Burton are co-chairs.
For more information on the Interfaith Gun Safety Initiative, contact the Rev. Rodrick Burton at (314) 246-1207. For more information about the vigil and RSVP, please contact Elyse Picker, JCRC Program Manager, at (314) 442-3874.