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MARCHA prayer new to gun violence prevention resources

Embrace love in the midst of fear and tragedy. Image by Gisela Fotografie,
Embrace love in the midst of fear and tragedy. Image by Gisela Fotografie,

Across the globe on Sunday, Aug. 4, United Methodists gathered to worship, to sing and to pray. As congregations gathered in the United States, many were hearing hastily revised sermons, offering laments and praying for the dead, the wounded and the survivors in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

As has happened before in the wake of mass shootings, United Methodists prayed with longing for a day when violence will cease. Many also considered what actions they might take to prevent similar things from happening.

Among those joining in prayer and calls for action were Florida Bishop Ken Carter, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, and the Hispanic/Latino United Methodists gathered for the annual meeting of MARCHA (Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In its statement lamenting “the loss of precious lives to hate and violence,” MARCHA expressed alarm at “how the evils of white supremacy, racism and xenophobia continue to rapidly spread through all levels of our nation and society” and called on General Conference “to unequivocally denounce the evil of White Supremacy and declare it incompatible with Christian teachings.”

MARCHA also released a prayer, which can be used as other groups plan and take action.

“For those lost to hate and violence and the communities mourning in Texas and Ohio, Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

“For the first responders and caregivers, Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

“For the people of the USA, resurrect our instincts to honor our common humanity and our compassion to the suffering of our neighbor, beyond empty words. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

“For those in positions of power and influence, grant them the will and courage to protect life over ‘freedom’ to kill. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.”

Consider using the prayer and the resources below as your congregation worships and takes other actions aimed at preventing gun violence.




  • Book of Resolutions 2016, #3428: “Whether it happen in the towns of northeastern Nigeria, a suburb in the United States, the streets of Australia or an office in France, gun violence has become an all-too-often frightening phenomenon. We need the reality of Micah’s vision (Micah 4:104) more than ever.” Read the rest of the resolution titled Our Call to End Gun Violence.   
  • Courageous Conversation about Gun Violence: This outline is a guide to helping people within the church to bring their different perspectives on gun violence prevention together in helpful conversation.
  • Faith and Facts: Gun violence: What does the Bible say? What does The United Methodist Church say? What do the facts say? This quick-read card provides information that can be helpful in discussions about addressing gun violence in many forms and in many places and encourages other actions to reduce it.
  • Kingdom Dreams Violent Realities Bible Study: A free, downloadable, three-session Bible study on gun violence prevention.
  • Fearless conversations: Gun violence: The West Ohio Conference developed this plan for a small group session that will take about 1.5-2 hours to complete.


  • Help for crime victims: Information from a resource and advocacy organization in the United States for crime victims and those who serve them.




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