Foundry Responds

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Foundry's Statement Regarding Gun Violence Prevention

Dear Foundry Friends,

In the shadow of the tragic event yesterday in Newtown, Conn., we will include Holy Communion as part of our worship services tomorrow (December 16). Holy Communion is a time we affirm and open ourselves to the presence of God in our world, even in the midst of the most awful manifestations of violence and harm.

Our annual Christmas pageant is scheduled for the 9:30 and 11 AM services and we will hold our pageant as planned. These annual traditions are especially important for our children and all of us during fearful times. As they so often do, our children will minister to us tomorrow.

Pastor Theresa has been sending some helpful materials to our parents on how to engage in conversations about these kinds of tragedies. Please email her at tthames@foundryumc.org if you have any questions about the materials.

Part of the reason we are having Communion tomorrow is because words don't seem enough to express our feelings. For those of us who remember Columbine, the shooting of the Amish children, and all of the other acts of violence against children in our schools, it is time we recognize we have a serious societal problem that we need to address. It is a problem that requires both personal spiritual examination and societal action.

One of the stories in the Bible I love the most is when the disciples tried to keep children from bothering Jesus, but Jesus said, "Don't prevent them from coming to me, for the Kingdom of God belongs to ones like these." And he laid his hands on the heads of the children and blessed them. (Matt 19:14) As individuals, families, a congregation, a city, and a nation, Jesus calls us to bless our children.

Below you will find a letter from our bishop Marcus Matthews. Also here is a link to a letter from our friend Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund for your consideration. In addition here is the Children's Defense Fund report on gun violence. Some of us will disagree as we have conversations about what to do. However, I think we will all agree that we can join in a spirit of collective prayer.

Feel free to invite relatives, friends, and neighbors who may want to be part of a service tomorrow, to come to Foundry. We welcome all who are hurting.

Thank you for your commitment to Christ's vision of a world of justice and inclusion where every child will be safe and can thrive.

Dean Snyder and the Foundry staff

A message from Bishop Matthews---Sandy Hook Elementary School

Brother and Sisters in Christ:

As we come together in our churches this Sunday, observing Advent and the coming of the Prince of Peace, our hearts are breaking in the aftermath of the school shooting in Connecticut. It’s difficult to make sense of the horror brought about by this incident, which is one of the deadliest school shootings in our nation’s history. The pain strikes at the very soul of who we are as a nation and as a people of God.

We especially lift up the children, the mothers, fathers, and all whose dreams were cut short by a gunman’s bullets. In truth, these prayers of lament following violent tragedy seem all too familiar to us now. As your bishop, I join with spiritual leaders throughout the Baltimore-Washington Conference and The United Methodist Church to implore you to allow your hearts to deeply mourn for all who are suffering as a result of this rampage. But I also ask that in the weeks and months ahead, you recommit yourself to creating a society in which our children, and indeed all people, can live unafraid and confident, claiming all the fullness of life that God has promised.

The death of these people and the ongoing, escalating violence throughout our country, cast a shadow over some of our Christmas joy. In our grief, we pray for God’s steadfast and healing presence. But we must also pray for the willingness to serve, with humility and love, to create a world that reflects the promise of all that grew from that cradle long ago in Bethlehem.

In Advent, and always, may God make us instruments of his peace.

In hope,

Bishop Marcus Matthews

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