News & Media

East Village congregation prays for help in fight against guns

January 21, 2013 | New York Daily News | Source Article

PICO National Network

By Clare Trapasso


A Protestant congregation has enlisted the help of a higher power in the fight against guns.

Middle Collegiate Church, in the East Village, was one of more than 150 congregations across the country, and about a half-dozen in the city, to hold a gun violence prevention sermon Sunday in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

"This killing at Sandy Hook was a tipping point for many Americans," said Pastor Jaqueline Lewis.

She pointed out that about 20 times more kids and teens have been killed by firearms since 1979 than the number of U.S. military personnel killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Children's Defense Fund.

Lewis asked the audience to join her Saturday at the March on Washington for Gun Control. The church charted a bus to take members to the demonstration.

"I'm sick and tired of the violence," said Lewis, who encouraged the standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 worshippers to get involved in the fight. "How about you?"

High School Spanish teacher Rebecca Matthews, 37, of Carroll Gardens, called Lewis' sermon "very inspiring."

"She made it very clear that it's up to us to say something, to do something, to write something to our leaders and let them know we're all against gun violence," she said. "We don't feel safe."

Sunday anti-gun sermons also took place at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, in Morningside Heights, and the First Corinthian Baptist Church, in Harlem.