Congregations join in prayers for peace
Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats of Carson City’s First United Methodist Church said God repeatedly admonished his prophets, “Do not be afraid.”But, he told the group of about 60 people gathered Monday at the State Legislature, “It is a fear of each other that drives us to own more and more guns.”“Help us to have the courage to put our trust in you alone,” he prayed. “All our weapons will not save us. You, alone, will, the rock of our liberties. Deliver us from the bondage of our fears.”Jennings-Teats joined other Northern Nevada clergy in the newly formed group ACTIONN — Acting in Community Together in Organizing Northern Nevada. The group, made up of about 104 clergy and lay leaders, represents 16 congregations throughout the region to engage in public conversations about pressing issues.Monday’s prayer vigil called for tighter gun control laws and better services for the mentally ill.“Our intention is to show support from a wide range of religious traditions and as people of faith for this call,” said Pat Fling, executive director of ACTIONN. “But I want to humbly offer that praying is not enough. We must turn our prayers, grief and outrage into action. And it starts today. With you.”She outlined four suggestions for the group to advocate to members of Congress, the state Legislature, as well as to President Obama. The first, she said, is to renew the assault weapons ban then require background checks for all gun buyers. The third is to ban large magazines of ammunition and, finally, to invest more in mental health services. “We know that the majority of Americans support these sensible proposals,” she told the crowd. “Now, our elected leaders need to support them too.”Father Chuck Durante of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community led the procession to the Legislature, leading participants in song, “Give peace to every heart. Give peace, Lord.”He opened the vigil in supplication. “We come from many different backgrounds, acting not as judge and jury on the issue of gun violence in our community nor to give all the answers on how that can happen,” he said. “We come to pray and to call for information, dialogue and action among our lawmakers and experts in the field addressing violence in our land.”Participants bowed their heads, some wept, as the names were read of those killed by guns in Northern Nevada, including the victims of the mass shooting at IHOP in 2011.Fling said the group will visit the Legislature on Feb. 12 to lobby for its goals. “We are lifting our voices up in both prayer and action,” she said.On the WebFor more information about ACTIONN, go to actionn.org.