“Ring Out Danger” bell-tolling campaign begins on National Gun Violence Awareness Day

May 25, 2023 | by Admin

“Ring Out Danger” bell-tolling campaign begins on National Gun Violence Awareness Day

On Friday, June 2, at noon, local churches will join in tolling their church bells to mourn and protest the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.

The 165-year-old steeple bell in the historic church building at 5th and B Streets, now the home of the Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma, will toll, as will the bells at St. John’s Episcopal Church, St. Vincent’s Catholic Church and Elim Lutheran Church.

Clergy from the Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma, Petaluma United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ Petaluma, and Elim Lutheran Church, as well as representatives of B'nai Israel Jewish Center, First Presbyterian Church of Petaluma, St. John’s Episcopal, St. Vincent’s, and more will gather.

The event kicks off what organizers plan to be an ongoing ritual bell-tolling, to occur on the first Friday of each month at 9:35 a.m. for five minutes, “until this epidemic is successfully halted by appropriate government action,” according to UU Petaluma Board member and event organizer David Dodd. “9:35 is significant in that it was the hour at which the Sandy Hook shootings began,” he added, noting that in the short course of five minutes, 26 lives were claimed.

The day’s events, which will include a press conference, a short service of memory, and a performance by the Raven Theater group of two excerpts from their recent production “If I Don’t Make It, I Love You,” will begin at 11 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma, 16 5th St. Doors will open at 10:45, and the general public is welcome.

June 2 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, calling the attention of the entire nation to the facts and horrifying statistics surrounding the epidemic. “The numbers are mind-numbing,” said Dodd, “but we can’t allow ourselves to be numb. We have to act, each of us, in whatever way we can.” Gun violence includes mass shootings, and also individual shootings as well as suicides, claiming approximately 40,000 lives each year.

Organizers of the event hope to galvanize congregants and members of the community at large to engage in meaningful action, ranging from phone calls and letter-writing to legislators, to working with local law enforcement to conduct regular gun buy-back programs. They will encourage people to get involved with one of the several organizations working nationwide to end gun violence, including Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, Sandy Hook Promise, and Brady United.

“We hope to see churches begin to join us from around the County, State, and Nation,” said Dodd, adding that at least one distant church has already joined the effort–St. Luke’s Episcopal in Atlanta, Georgia.

Press contact:
David Dodd, Board of Trustees, Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma


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