Clergy members representing many St. Louis area’s denominations will join in the Vigil to Save Children’s Lives at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, to collectively mourn over 100 children that have died in the St. Louis region over the past four years due to gun violence.
The vigil will be held at Mt. Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, 1600 Belt Avenue, 63112, and will kick off an Interfaith Gun Safety Initiative. The program will include the mourning rituals of various faith traditions and conclude with a candle lighting ceremony and refreshments. The public is invited, and an RSVP is requested.
Many of these tragedies were preventable if guns had been safely stored, and Women’s Voices for Social Justice and the city of St. Louis have an existing program to provide gun locks free of charge for pick up at some Fire Stations and public libraries.
“We believe that houses of worship have a critical role to play in teaching our congregants about gun safety,” said Rev. Rodrick Burton, senior pastor of the New Northside Missionary Baptist Church and vice president of the Ecumenical Leadership Council.
“I don’t want to console another family who has senselessly lost a child, a child whose death could have been prevented if a gun had not been so easily accessible.”
Participating congregations will have access to gun safety programs developed by Everytown for Gun Safety, and materials from the Stop, Lock and Drop it initiative developed by the St. Louis Violence Prevention Coalition.
Gun locks will also be distributed at the event, and community partners will have information tables.
Maharat Rori Picker Neiss of the Jewish Community Relations Council said, “we know the power that is possible when communities come together. Our tradition teaches that to save a life is as if to save an entire world. If we can save one child’s live or prevent a single suicide, this initiative will be a success.”
Participating organizations include:
Archdiocese of St. Louis (Peace and Justice Commission), Ashrei Foundation (of Central Reform Congregation), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Kansas City Field Division, Ecumenical Leadership Council of St. Louis, Employment Connections, Be SMART, of Everytown for Gun Safety, Faces Not Forgotten, Jewish Community Relations Council, Missouri Faith Voices, St. Louis Violence Prevention Coalition, and Women’s Voices Raise for Social Justice.
Interfaith Partnership celebration Oct. 27
Religious communities in metropolitan St. Louis continue to cultivate friendships and join in bridge-building efforts that have transformed lives and communities.
The Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis will celebrate these friendships and recommit to improving lives and strengthening community at its annual fundraising gala at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 27, at the Lambert International Airport Aero Event Space. The 2022 theme is “Journeys to Friendship.”
Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Bishop Robert Farr, Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Rev. Burton are co-chairs.
For more information about the Interfaith Gun Safety Initiative, contact Rev. Rodrick Burton at (314) 246-1207. For more information about the Vigil and to RSVP, contact Elyse Picker, JCRC Program Manager at (314) 442-3874.