Update as of April 17th:

Concerned for public safety in the wake of the horrifying events at the Boston Marathon, the Board of Selectmen of Lexington have imposed a moratorium on all public rallies on the Green between now and May 1.  The Gun Rights Across America rally planned for this Friday, April 19, will not take place.  Honoring our town leaders, all the community groups, including the Lexington Interfaith Clergy Association and LexCommonSense that had scheduled events for that day, have all postponed them.

 

We hope that people of faith will take some time on that Friday to:
  • pray for the victims of violence, in Boston and beyond
  • to communicate with state and federal representatives as they debate and vote on gun legislation
  • ponder how we as a diverse community can conduct peaceful and mutually respectful dialogue about important matters
As we all grieve and reel in response to the violence perpetrated at the marathon, and as we look to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, we remember our faithful commitment to work for a world that protects the innocent, the children, the mentally ill, and the vulnerable from violence.  May God bless us and strengthen us for this work.

Letter from Paul Shupe to the Hancock Church Congregation

April 10, 2013

Dear Members and Friends,

On Friday, April 19, a group called Gun Rights Across America will be holding a rally in opposition to proposed legislation restricting the right to bear arms.   At Hancock, we believe in the rights of all people to speak.  We are also aware that we likely have within our church community individuals whose convictions may well be very similar to those of this group.

    In response to this rally, citizens of Lexington are planning other activities.  Among these groups is the Lexington Interfaith Clergy Association (LICA) in which Dana Allen Walsh and I are participants and occasional leaders.  The clergy of LICA do not presume to speak for their congregations, nor for every member of them.  But LICA is in agreement that the role of guns and the violent uses to which they are too often put, is a matter not merely of constitutional concern, but of moral and spiritual concern.  As such, we will be responding.

    At 11:00 am that morning, a press conference will be held on the steps of First Parish Church on Harrington Road.  A shared statement of the LICA clergy will be read, and individual clergy will offer short statements about the matter.

    At 11:30 am an indoor gathering will be held for all interested persons, also at First Parish.  There will be singing and prayer from different traditions, as well as stories from persons affected by gun violence in personal ways.  Also available will be information about how to contact legislators to communicate your views.

    At noon the clergy will be standing on the property of First Parish and Hancock Church, in silent vigil as the rally is held on the Green.  A Free Speech Zone has been created near Bucknam Tavern where people may go and speak their minds as they desire.

    I am participating because I believe that the right of responsible and healthy individuals to own and properly use firearms can be balanced by the necessity to limit the potential violence that these weapons can be used to perpetrate.  We must work together to keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a danger to themselves or to others, and to limit destructive potential.  The Standing Committee of the congregation has given approval to use our church property for this LICA event.

    This coming Sunday, April 14, I will be in the Pearson Room at 11:30 to answer any questions that you might have, and to facilitate a conversation among us.  All are welcome.

Rev. Paul Shupe