Bishops United Against Gun Violence is urging Episcopalians to consider wearing orange on June 2 as a sign of their commitment to reducing gun violence in their communities.
Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Gayle E. Harris of the Diocese of Massachusetts are members of the organization, a group of more than 60 Episcopal Church bishops that advocates violence prevention measures, including background checks on all gun purchases, and they support the "Wear Orange" effort.
It began in 2013 after Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old high school student, was shot to death on the south side of Chicago just a week after marching in President Obama's second inaugural parade. Her friends asked people to honor Pendleton by wearing orange--the color hunters wear for safety--on her birthday, June 2. Gun violence prevention groups around the country took up the cause and last year promoted the first National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Bishops United Against Gun Violence is asking Episcopalians to have their picture taken in orange garb on June 2 and post them on social media using the hashtags #WearOrange and #Episcopal.
Members of the clergy are invited to consider joining an additional effort, initiated by the Rev. C. Eric Funston and the Rev. Rosalind Hughes in the Diocese of Ohio, by wearing an orange stole on Sunday, June 5.
Bishops United also urges Episcopalians to work for handgun purchaser licensing, supported by Resolution B008 of the 2015 General Convention, the passage of an effective statute making gun trafficking a federal crime and the development of smart gun technology.
"In the Gospel assigned for the Sunday after June 2, we read about Jesus restoring life to a widowed mother's only son," Bishop Mark Beckwith of the Diocese of Newark, one of Bishops United's conveners, said in a news release from the organization. "We don't have the power to raise people from the dead, but sometimes we do have the power to keep them alive. Our hope on June 2 is that people across the country will join us in harnessing that power."