Church’s stance on guns divisive
About 10 days ago, The Episcopal Bishop of Virginia, Shannon Johnston, sent an email to his denomination that could cause some dissension in its ranks.
The Bishop wrote, “In 2013, the Diocese of Virginia passed two resolutions … R-3a, ‘Response to Gun Violence’ [which] supports the strengthening and reinstatement of a federal ban on military-style semiautomatic assault weapons, while R-4a, ‘Action to Reduce Gun Violence, calls for Virginia Episcopalians to make a pledge to commit to working within our churches toward reducing gun violence” and asked that the congregates of the Diocese’s churches start considering ways to implement the two resolutions.
In sending his message Johnston said: “This is an issue on which all Episcopalians do not stand in agreement, [but] one thing we can all commit to is putting an end to gun-related violence.”
The Rev. Alan Hooker of Heathsville, who is the priest at St. James in Montross, confirmed the Bishop’s observation that there would be disagreement on the topic. “Our parishioners feel different ways,” he said.
Hooker said the congregation he leads has not yet done anything about the Bishop’s message and that he was disinclined to get involved.
The Rev. Lucia Lloyd who leads St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Heathsville, said that she had forwarded the Bishop’s message on to the church’s vestry. But the vestry had not met since the message was received. She said she did not know what the vestry might do in response.
Personally, Lloyd said that while she hasn’t dealt directly with the issues raised by the Bishop, she has preached on the number of children who are shot and killed annually by firearms. She said she was appalled by how many such killings occur.