Guest Blog Post by
Julie Burchett and Janice Seele
Webster Groves Presbyterian Church Advocacy Team Members

“Mass shootings mar holiday weekend; at least 2 dead, 20 injured in Florida incident.”
Gunfire sprayed into homes hurts three teens in St. Louis overnight.”
Nine people are dead after a gunman opened fire yesterday morning at the Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard in San Jose, California.”

These are headlines from just the last seven days in our country.

Look around. Lately, more than likely, you will see flags flying at half-staff.  The President orders this to honor the memory of those most recently lost to gun violence in a mass shooting. It seems like it is all the time these days.

Unfortunately, shootings and flags at half-staff are nothing new to us in the United States. When the Webster Groves Presbyterian Church Advocacy Team began three years ago, it was our faith calling us to follow the example of Jesus Christ by acting for social change to promote justice for all people. In addition to poverty, health care for all, and addressing systemic racism, it was no wonder that stopping gun violence was at the top of the list of issues we wanted to address. We all want our families, friends, and communities to be safe.

Since then, we have spent a lot of time learning about gun violence and gun sense. We have partnered with Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. We have worked with Moms Demand Action to help pass stronger gun laws and work to close the loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our families. We also work in our own community to encourage a culture of responsible gun ownership.

Some of our actions include:

  • Traveling to Jefferson City to meet with our lawmakers for the Moms Demand Action Annual Advocacy Day – in person before COVID and virtually this year
  • Inviting various speakers to teach us about current gun bills at the state and federal level – most recently about the proposed Missouri bills to nullify federal gun laws and penalize law enforcement officers who attempt to uphold those federal laws.
  • Writing, calling, and emailing our legislators voice our support for or against various gun bills on an ongoing basis – information on gun bills (and others that the Advocacy team is working on) is sent to our members through newsletters and emails. Hosting an Advocacy Film Club screening and discussion on the documentary “Gospel, Guns, and God.”
  • Hosting a workshop for parents on Gun Safety in the Home as well as a workshop for church members and the community on how to quickly stop bleeding in an injured person when active violence occurs.
  • Hosting an informational weekend for our church and the community (including our local and state lawmakers) with the Rev. Deanna Hollas, ordained by PCUSA, and given the title of Gun Violence Prevention Minister, the first position of its kind in the nation.
  • Participating in Wear Orange Day and Weekend – This year, the 6th Annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day will be June 4, 2021, and continues through June 5 and 6. The color orange honors the more than 100 lives cut short and the hundreds more wounded by gun violence every day.

These efforts have yet to achieve the results we want but our Advocacy Team is committed to keeping up with our work. Eventually, we believe together we can end gun violence and make the world safer for all of God’s children.

Webster Groves Presbyterian Church Advocacy Team Members




  • Posted June 1, 2021 5:44 pm
    Susan Andrews

    So proud of these Webster Groves Disciples. This is a grass roots group with Session support. And all advocacy actions are grounded in biblical teaching and PCUSA social witness policy. Jesus and justice and joy. Other efforts of the Advocacy Team supports weekly interfaith Black Lives Matter vigils in Webster Groves, and advocating for affordable housing in Webster Groves.

  • Posted June 2, 2021 8:23 am
    Karen Wilson

    I so appreciate your efforts on this important issue facing all of us, and especially the listing of your activities. Thanks so much!

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