Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace

Challenging the Epidemic of Gun Violence

Edited by Sharon Pearson, Foreword by Mark M. Beckwith

Feb/2015, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819232021



• Core resource on how the Episcopal Church is challenging violence in today's society
• Royalties of the sale of the book to go to "Bishops United to Prevent Gun Violence"
• Comprehensive study guide included with further resources  

Over 300 Episcopalians came together in Oklahoma City in April 2014 to renew their commitment to the Gospel call to make peace in a world of violence. Through deep conversation, prayer, and skill building the event empowered the Episcopal Church to address violence and reclaim its role in society as workers for nonviolence and peace.
This book is one of the outcomes of that event – resources to help dioceses, congregations, and individuals reclaim the Gospel message of peace for our society. Divided into five sections – Proclaim: The Gospel, Sustain: The Witness, Reclaim: The Response Pray: The Work, and Engage: The Next Steps – topics are offered in the areas of advocacy, education, liturgy, and pastoral care that our Church can use to address the culture of violence within and outside of the Church. The reader will hear the Gospel proclaimed through personal stories of witness from key leaders in the Church today, including Justin Welby, Katharine Jefferts Schori, Edward Konieczny, Eugene Sutton, Mark Beckwith, James Curry, Mariann Edgar Budde, Gary Hall, Kathleen Adams Shepherd, Mark Bozzuti-Jones, Kay Collier McLaughlin, and others.
Topics include: systemic/root cause of violence, suicide/mental health, hate crimes, gang violence, race and violence, advocacy, gun violence, bullying, gender-based violence, and non-violence. Reflection questions follow each chapter with a comprehensive study guide for group use included.

Read Chapter 4: Why Gun Violence is a Religious Problem by Gary Hall

Church Publishing Incorporated offers excerpts of this book, specifically “Pray: The Work” (Part IV) and “Engage: The Action” (Part V) for congregations, youth groups, and individuals to use as they discuss, pray, and move to action across the United States on the local and national level. Download it here

SHARON ELY PEARSON is a Christian educator, editor, and author with 35+ years of experience in Christian formation on the local, judicatory, and church-wide level. Known for her knowledge of published curricula across the church, she has written or edited numerous books. She is a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary and a lifelong Episcopalian. She lives in Norwalk, Connecticut.

MARK BECKWITH is the retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, where he served for twelve years. While there, he co-founded the Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope and Peace, a network of religious leaders committed to reducing gang violence in the city. He co-founded Bishops United Against Gun Violence (2012), which has grown to a network of 100 bishops from across the church.

Since retirement, he has become part of the leadership team for Braver Angels, a movement that seeks to depolarize America by convening equal numbers of conservative and progressive people in workshops and actions that honor political and ideological difference and seek to find common ground. Bishop Beckwith lives in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace
Challenging the Epidemic of Gun Violence

Table of Contents

Foreword – Mark M. Beckwith
Introduction – Sharon Ely Pearson

Part One: Proclaim: The Gospel
1. Choose Vulnerability – Caitlin Celella
2: Why Are We Here? – Edward J. Konieczny
3: Challenging the Mythology of Violence – Eugene Taylor Sutton
4. Why Gun Violence is a Religious Problem – Gary R. Hall
5. Custody of the Heart – Katharine Jefferts Schori
6. The Binding of Isaac – Allison S. Liles

Part Two: Sustain: The Witness
7. What Shall We Do? – Mariann Edgar Budde
8. Render Our Hearts Open – Kathleen Adams Shepherd
9. The Unruly Wills and Affections of Sinners – Gary R. Hall
10. Put Your Sword Back Into Its Place – Mark Bozzuti-Jones
11. The Way of Life and Peace: The Church’s Advocacy against Violence – Alexander D. Baumgarten
12. Swords into Plowshares And Arms into Art: A Practical Theology of Transformation and Witness – James E. Curry
13. Your Hand in Mine – Roger Hutchison
14. Rest from Anger – Stephen C. Holton

Part Three: Reclaim: The Response
15. The Prophetic Response to Violence – Justin Welby
16. There Are Ways to Prevent This – Mariann Edgar Budde
17. Gun Laws Save Lives – Daniel W. Webster
18. B-PEACE for Jorge: A Diocesan-Wide Anti-Violence Campaign – Julia MacMahon
19. Respecting the Dignity of Those Impacted by Intimate Partner Violence – Robin Hammeal-Urban
20. Talking Peace: Learning and Telling Biblical Stories of Peace – Dina McMullin Ferguson
21. Holy Conversations – Kay Collier McLaughlin
22. The Episcopal Church’s Legislative Response – Executive Council and General Convention Resolutions
23. PeaceMeals: Connecting with Gun Shops – Bill Exner
24. Inspiring Mission – Wendy Johnson, Beth Crow, and Cookie Cantwell

Part Four: Pray: The Work
25. Prayers and Liturgies
26. Anointed for Peace: A Service of Healing and Hope

Part Five: Engage: The Next Steps
27. Action Guide
28. Rights, Respect, and Responsibilities – Eric H. F. Law
29. Annotated Bibliography and Resource List  

“I found Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace: Challenging the Epidemic of Gun Violence to be a very helpful resource for contemplating reasons and methods of reducing gun violence. I am especially gratified that the faith community is taking such a stand on the issue. Keeping our communities, our families, and our children safe from gun violence is at its core a moral imperative.”
––Ron Pinciaro, Executive Director, Connecticut Against Gun Violence
"Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace offers hope to all of us working to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country. Here you will find imaginative and grace-filled ways by which we can be faithful followers of the Prince of Peace. As a Co-Convenor of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, I am honored to be associated with this work and I enthusiastically commend this book as a rich resource for participation in God’s mission of restoration and reconciliation.”
––The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Ph.D., Bishop Diocesan, Episcopal Church in Connecticut

“This book examines this heartbreaking, politically charged issue of gun violence from many angles, considering numerous ways in which we as individuals and as a church can help to stem the tide of violence. It offers no simple solutions, but makes it clear that each of us has a role to play in reclaiming the gospel of peace.”
––The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies

Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace was a transformative gathering in response to the epidemic of gun violence in 2014. Sharon Pearson has masterfully compiled the presentations and resources from the event, woven in additional valuable information pertaining to gun violence prevention, and the result is an outstanding book that is sure to become a well used resource for any individual or faith community tackling the work of bringing an end to gun violence.”
––The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior, Bishop, Episcopal Church in Minnesota

“This powerful book invites Christians of all-denominations to constructively engage in ending gun violence. Demonstrating that our culture of violence is the same culture of violence that crucified Jesus, the writings in this book offer practical and fruitful ways to be in dialog with those whose stance might be different than our own. The process and stories told here demonstrate the Church at its best––building a faithful witnessing community that testifies to the Christian hope, while providing concrete steps to facilitate transformative conversations and practices in our wider communities.”
––Dr. Elizabeth L. Windsor, Christian Formation Specialist, the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church and Director of Faith Formation, St. Matthew's United Methodist Church, Acton, Massachusetts
“A thoughtful, beautifully edited call to action resource. Each chapter speaks to respectfully working to end violence, including a powerful service for healing and peace. This book should not be on your office shelf, it should be in your hands, your mind, and your heart.”
––Deborah Bell Rodahaffer, Director of Christian Education, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Louisville, KY, and chair of “Hope in the Midst of Crisis: From Tragedy to Healing through Forgiveness,” the 87th Kanuga Christian Formation Conference
“December 14, 2012 is a day that changed my life and the lives of countless other men, women, and children in Connecticut and throughout the world. My commitment to working for and witnessing to the Prince of Peace was deepened on that day. Episcopalians from all over the world gathered in Oklahoma City a year after the tragedy of Sandy Hook as part of a profound and moving witness to our collaborative commitment to the Gospel of Peace. This collection of essays from speakers at that conference enables us to further share the voices we heard and more importantly it provides excellent resources for further prayer and action. May we, as the Rev. Stephen Holton's invitation says, ‘Open our hands to receive the healing gift of God and take up the Gospel of Peace.’”
––The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan, Episcopal Church in Connecticut
“An excellent resource to use personally and in small groups to begin the conversation on violence. Each of the chapters provides a personal story that opens the door for conversation. The reflections and deeper questions at the end allow readers to prayerfully partner with others to work with our broken communities and work towards uniting them to communities of peace. Grounded in the gospel, this resource provides voices and stories to move our conversations on gun violence from ones of uncertainty to conversations of understanding, witness, and peace.”
––Darlene H. Kalfahs, Resource Center Director, East Central Synod of Wisconsin (ELCA)

The young demonstrators on the streets of Ferguson cried out: "This is what democracy looks like" – it is raw, powerful and uncomfortable. You could say the same about Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace. Thoughtful and provocative writing at the intersection of faith and one of the central issues of our day in America ... how can we follow the Prince of Peace while a citizens arms race spirals out of control. This is what theology looks like!
––The Very Rev. Mike Kinman, Dean, Christ Church Cathedral

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