Gun violence and gospel values
To the Editor:
The issue of gun accessibility and gun control divides our nation. Most Americans agree that sensible gun control is a good thing. Getting specific about what that looks like, however, separates us into confused and suspicious camps. Good people and good friends disagree. Within the Forest Hill congregation there exists a variety of opinions, shaped by where one grew up, where one lives now, previous gun usage or ownership, and one’s interpretation of the Second Amendment.
People of faith disagree about all sorts of things, just like everybody else. As people of faith, however, we are bound in community by a common vocabulary and common storyline. With that in mind, I have invited the Reverend Jim Atwood, pastor emeritus of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington, Va., to speak to our community on Saturday, May 4th at Forest Hill Church, 3031 Monticello Blvd. in Cleveland Heights.
Forest Hill Church is co-sponsoring this event with the Church of the Covenant and the Presbytery of the Western Reserve. The event is open to all—folks of all faith traditions or no faith tradition are welcome. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A light breakfast and lunch will be served. The event is free, but a $10 contribution is requested for food. Call the church office at 216-321-2660 to make a reservation.
Atwood helped write the social witness policy for the Presbyterian church (USA), which was approved by the 219th General Assembly in 2010. The policy is titled “Gun Violence, Gospel Values: Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call.” He has also written a America and its Guns: A Theological Exposé, published in 2012. He is currently the chairperson of Heeding God’s Call of Greater Washington, a faith-based ecumenical movement that encourages gun shop owners to adopt a code of conduct that deters illegal purchasing and the trafficking of handguns. Atwood will give three talks, and lead discussions, concluding with a segment on “What do we do now?”
John C. Lentz Jr.
Pastor, Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian