United Methodist Bishops: A Call to Prayer and Action in Response to Gun Violence

September 06, 2022


  • United Methodist bishops unanimously affirm a statement addressing gun violence and invite United Methodists to pray in September. 
  • The bishops are also encouraging Bible study and contacting elected officials to address gun violence.
  • The Council of Bishops approved the actions at its recent meeting.

“Thou shall not kill.” -Exodus 20:13  

We are called as United Methodist Bishops to respond to the devastation and disruption due to gun violence. Communities around the world are traumatized, we are facing a global and national health crisis, and children, families, and communities are left with emotional scars that beg for angels of mercy and the healing balm of Gilead.  

The Bible declares in Exodus 20:13 “Thou shall not kill”—yet gun violence continues to escalate. In 2021 and 2022, 43 million more guns were sold in the United States, in addition to the 400 million guns already owned. As of June 2022, the United States has experienced over 300 mass shootings in this year alone.  

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In Louisiana, firearm deaths have increased by 24.3% from 2015 to 2020, making it the 23rd largest increase among states. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a total of 1,183 people died from a firearm injury in the state in 2020, up from 952 in 2015. 

The firearm mortality rate in Louisiana is the second highest among states, at 26.3 deaths for every 100,000 people.

Gun violence is more than a U.S. problem. Across the globe, 44% of all homicides involve guns.

According to Amnesty International, 2,000 people are injured every day by gun shots and more than 500 of them die.

The Church is called to be an instrument of God’s grace. As people of prayer, we followers of Jesus are called to be “counter-cultural change makers.”

To that end, we must reject the idolatry of guns and the distorted attachment to our right to own guns without safeguards for the communities of the world.  

This is a call to prayer, beginning this September, for all who follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace. This is a call to action for all to weep with those who weep and demand, insist on, and push for positive change from our elected officials.  

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As United Methodists we have made our claim for a more excellent way to live and bring change.  

“As followers of Jesus, called to live into the reality of God’s dream of shalom as described by Micah, we must address the epidemic of gun violence so ‘that he may teach us his ways and the way we may walk in God’s paths.’ Therefore, we call upon United Methodists to prayerfully address gun violence in their local context.” (Book of Resolution #3428 2016)  

The collective prayers of God’s people will keep this issue in the forefront of our consciousness and guide our intentional discernment of the action needed to bring about change.
Council of Bishops

This call to prayer is not a shallow request but one that firmly believes that the collective prayers of God’s people will keep this issue in the forefront of our consciousness and guide our intentional discernment of the action needed to bring about change.  

The United Methodist Council of Bishops commits to leading as peacemakers and prophetic witnesses to make our communities safer by reducing the tragedy and trauma of daily homicides and suicides.

We call people to prayer and to work with ecumenical and interfaith partners in our public witness.

We call for congregations to use United Methodist Church resources for Bible study and advocacy in their efforts to reduce gun violence.

We support the ban on assault weapons and urge Church and government support for communities affected by the trauma of gun violence.

We are committed to sharing Christ centered compassion as we walk alongside those who have been victims of gun violence.

We call on all United Methodist to advocate for safer communities, safer schools and building bridges to beloved community.  

Bishops of The United Methodist Church  

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, President New York Episcopal Area  

Bishop Christian Alsted Nordic/Baltic Area  

Bishop Sandra L. Steiner Ball West Virginia Area and Harrisburg Area  

Bishop David Alan Bard Michigan Area and Minnesota Area  

Bishop George W. Bashore Retired  

Bishop Frank J. Beard Illinois Area  

Bishop Bruce P. Blake Retired  

Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe Retired  

Bishop Heinrich Bolleter Retired  

Bishop Benjamin Boni Côte D'ivoire Area  

Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. Sierra Leone Area  

Bishop Lawson Bryan Retired  

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño San Francisco Area  

Bishop Ken Carder Retired  

Bishop Kenneth H. Carter Florida Area and Charlotte Area  

Bishop Ray W. Chamberlain Retired  

Bishop Young Jin Cho Retired  

Bishop Sharon A. Brown Christopher Retired  

Bishop Charles N. Crutchfield Retired  

Bishop G. Lindsey Davis Retired  

Bishop Emílio J.M. De Carvalho Retired  

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar Boston Area  

Bishop Gaspar Joao Domingos Angola West Area  

Bishop Sally Dyck Retired  

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling Washington Area and Philadelphia Area  

Bishop Leonard E. Fairley Louisville Area and Raleigh Area  

Bishop Robert E. Fannin Retired  

Bishop Robert Farr Missouri Area  

Bishop Violet L. Fisher Retired  

Bishop Ciriaco Francisco Manila Episcopal Area  

Bishop Lizzette Gabriel Puerto Rico Area  

Bishop Elias Galvan Retired  

Bishop Jose C. Gamboa, Jr Retired  

Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster Retired  

Bishop David Graves Alabama-West Florida Area and South Georgia Area  

Bishop William Boyd Grove Retired Bishop Alfred W. Gwinn, Jr Retired  

Bishop Grant Hagiya Los Angeles Area and Phoenix Area  

Bishop Laurie Haller Iowa Area and Dakotas-Minnesota Area  

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey Louisiana Area  

Bishop Susan W. Hassinger Retired  

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson North Georgia Area  

Bishop Robert E. Hayes, Jr. Retired  

Bishop L. Jonathan Holston Columbia Area  

Bishop John L. Hopkins Chicago Area  

Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata Retired  

Bishop H. Hasbrouck Hughes, Jr. Retired  

Bishop Janice R. Huie Retired  

Bishop Joseph C. Humper Retired  

Bishop William Hutchinson Retired  

Bishop John G. Innis Retired  

Bishop Neil L. Irons Retired  

Bishop S. Clifton Ives Retired  

Bishop Alfred Johnson Retired  

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson Retired  

Bishop Scott Jones Houston Area  

Bishop Charles Wesley Jordan Retired  

Bishop Rodolfo Juan Davao Episcopal Area  

Bishop Hee-Soo Jung Wisconsin Area  

Bishop Benjamin A. Justo Retired  

Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer Retired  

Bishop Owan Kasap Southern Congo Area  

Bishop Kainda Katembo Retired  

Bishop Jonathan Keaton Retired  

Bishop Eduard Khegay Eurasia Area  

Bishop Deborah Kiesey Dakotas Area  

Bishop James R. King Retired  

Bishop Walter Klaiber Retired  

Bishop Arthur F. Kulah Retired  

Bishop Clay F. Lee Retired  

Bishop Linda Lee Retired  

Bishop Paul L. Leeland Retired  

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis Virginia Area  

Bishop William B. Lewis Retired  

Bishop Richard C. Looney Retired  

Bishop Daniel O. Lunge Central Congo Area  

Bishop Ernest Lyght Retired Bishop Joao Somane Machado Retired  

Bishop Tracy S. Malone Ohio East Area  

Bishop Joel N. Martinez Retired  

Bishop Marcus Matthews Retired  

Bishop William T. McAlilly Nashville Area  

Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey Retired  

Bishop Calvin D McConnell Retired  

Bishop Michael McKee Dallas Area  

Bishop Marshall L. Meadors, Jr. Retired  

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton Retired  

Bishop C.P. Minnick, Jr. Retired  

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi Pittsburgh Area and Harrisburg Area  

Bishop Susan Morrison Retired  

Bishop Gary Mueller Arkansas Area  

Bishop Albert F. Mutti Retired  

Bishop Mande Muyombo North Katanga Area  

Bishop Emerito Nacpil Retired  

Bishop Joaquina F. Nhanala Mozambique Area  

Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa Zimbabwe Area  

Bishop Alfred L. Norris Retired  

Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo Retired  

Bishop James Gregg Nunn Oklahoma Area and Northwest Texas Area  

Bishop Karen P. Oliveto Mountain Sky Area  

Bishop Øystein Olsen Retired  

Bishop Fama Onema Retired  

Bishop Donald A. Ott Retired  

Bishop Bruce R. Ough Retired  

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer Ohio West Area  

Bishop Jeremiah Park Retired  

Bishop Joseph E. Pennel, Jr. Retired  

Bishop Jose Quipungo East Angola Area  

Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr. Liberia Area  

Bishop Sharon Z. Rader Retired  

Bishop Harald Rückert Germany Area  

Bishop John W. Russell Retired  

Bishop Ruben Saenz, Jr. Great Plains Area and Fort Worth Area  

Bishop Roy L. Sano Retired  

Bishop Robert Schnase New Mexico and San Antonio Area  

Bishop John Schol Greater New Jersey Area and Philadelphia Area  

Bishop Ann B. Sherer-Simpson Retired  

Bishop Dan E. Solomon Retired  

Bishop Leo A. Soriano Retired  

Bishop Robert H. Spain Retired  

Bishop Joseph C. Sprague Retired  

Bishop Elaine Stanovsky Greater Northwest Area  

Bishop Forrest C. Stith Retired  

Bishop Thomas B. Stockton Retired  

Bishop Patrick Streiff Central & Southern Europe Area  

Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. Mississippi Area  

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson Retired  

Bishop Melvin Talbert Retired  

Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor Retired  

Bishop Solito K. Toquero Retired  

Bishop Pedro Torio, Jr. Baguio Area  

Bishop Julius C. Trimble Indiana Area  

Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda Eastern Congo Area  

Bishop Hans Växby Retired  

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett Birmingham Area and Holston Area  

Bishop Daniel Wandabula East Africa Area  

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward Retired  

Bishop B. Michael Watson Retired  

Bishop Peter Weaver Retired  

Bishop Mark Webb Upper New York Area Bishop Rosemarie Wenner Retired  

Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker Retired  

Bishop Woodie W. White Retired  

Bishop D. Max Whitfield Retired  

Bishop Richard B. Wilke Retired  

Bishop William H. Willimon Retired  

Bishop Richard J. Wills, Jr. Retired  

Bishop Joe A. Wilson Retired  

Bishop David K Yemba Retired  

Bishop John Wesley Yohanna Nigeria Area 

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