The National Council of Churches (NCC) is inviting the nearly 100,000 churches related to its member communions to ring church bells the morning of Friday, Dec. 21, to mark one week since 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
The houses of worship that take part in the “Church Bell Ringing to Honor Newtown” observe a minute of silence and sound their bells 26 times in memory of those who died in the school. Authorities believe the alleged shooter also killed his mother before going to the school with an automatic rifle.
“I hope that you will join me not only in continued prayer but also in raising a faithful witness against this and other forms of violence,” said Peg Birk, NCC transitional general secretary, in an e-mail announcing other upcoming actions to which NCC members churches are invited. “No nation or community should witness the suffering of such innocents.
“We will be convening staff from our member communions shortly after the holidays to discern additional ways that we, as the body of the National Council of Churches, can work together to prevent gun violence and other long term systemic issues of justice and peace,” Birk added.
A “Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath” has been announced for Jan. 6. Congregations around the country are being asked to offer sermons, prayers, or education forums against gun violence. To register a congregation and receive a free, downloadable toolkit for the observance go to http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1845/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=7232 .
A “Call-in Day Against Gun Violence” will be held in early January. The NCC is inviting the interfaith community in the US also to join together in this call-in day to legislators, urging them to address gun violence. Sign up to receive information about this upcoming advocacy action at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1845/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=7180 .