Bishops of the Episcopal Church led a march through downtown Salt Lake City on Sunday calling for a halt to the plague of gun violence sweeping the United States.
Approximately 75 bishops dressed vested in choir robes were joined by an estimated 1200 people in the march from the Salt Palace Convention Center to Pioneer Park. As the bishops marched they chanted canticles and shouted slogans calling for an end to the “unholy trinity” of racism, violence and poverty.
Speaking to the rally at Pioneer Park the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop-elect of the Episcopal Church said: “We are here because that unholy trinity threatens the life of us all.”
“But we are really here because there is another trinity. There is another trinity that is not an unholy trinity. There is another trinity that is a holy trinity. It is a life-giving trinity.”
The procession was organized by a coalition of bishops called “Bishops United Against Gun Violence”. Upon their return to the Salt Palace they and other victims of gun violence spoke of the toll taken on America by fire arms.
The Rt. Rev. Scott Hayashi, Bishop of Utah, address the rally, recounting how he had been shot when he was 19 years while working at grocery store. He was hospitalized for over two months from the gunshot wound to his abdomen and his weight dropped to 98 pounds.
The shooting also affected his family causing his father’s hair to turn gray in the weeks following the shooting. “I am hoping and praying that by us being together and making a witness, perhaps we can start the conversation that has not been had across the country, the conversation to bring all people together to say, ‘We need to simply stop’,” Bishop Hayashi said.
The Rt. Rev. Edward Konieczny, Bishop of Oklahoma, noted that he had served as a policeman in Southern California for twenty years before entering the priesthood. Criminal gun violence was a plague, he said.
The stories about violent crime are “dominating our world and our society are not the stories of love and the love of Christ and peace of our Lord. They’re the stories of a hurt and broken world, a world that is wandering and lost. Once again we need to reclaim who we are as disciples and children of God. It is up to us to do something about it,” the bishop said.