Thursday, March 21, 2013

Episcopal bishops from Connecticut to march in Washington against violence

Connecticut's three Episcopal bishops, from left, Ian Douglas, James Currie and Laura Ahrens, marched through Hartford on Good Friday last year. This year they will walk in Washington, D.C.

The three bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut are heading to Washington on Monday to challenge our country's "culture of violence," including its gun violence. They're planning a walk of prayer down Pennsylvania Avenue and then a time to hear from church and government leaders.

Last year, also in Holy Week, Diocesan Bishop Ian T. Douglas and Suffragan Bishops James E. Curry and Laura J. Ahrens, led a similar walk through downtown Hartford that ended at the State Capitol. It included prayers for social justice and against the death penalty.

About 120 clergy and laity from Episcopal churches in Connecticut will be with their bishops this year. They will join Episcopalians from the Diocese of Washington and other dioceses, including more than 20 bishops, as well as ecumenical partners, and walk from Lafayette Park near the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. The group will pray the "Way of the Cross," a Christian devotion of 14 stations (stops) recalling Jesus' last hours and death. Each station notes a D.C. landmark and the associated meditation and prayers written or chosen for it will focus on different aspects of violence prompted by reflecting on that landmark.

"We are taking our witness to our nation's capital to say to our political leaders and to our country that we will no longer be silent while violence permeates our world, our society, our churches, our homes and ourselves," wrote the bishops. They sent the initial invitation to go to Washington in the immediate aftermath of the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Afterwards, the group will hear brief remarks from government and church leaders, including Douglas, U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and Bishop Dinis S. Sengulane of Lebombo, Mozambique.

"Our faith calls us to be ministers of reconciliation, to give voice to the voiceless and to strive for justice in the name of our Lord," wrote the Connecticut bishops. "The horrific slaughter of children and adults in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown in our home state, and the day-to-day shootings and deaths of and by our children and young people in cities and towns across our nation, call us to prayer and action and to work for peace."

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