During the last week of Lent, congregations in our conference come together for a lenten supper. It’s a very diverse group of folks from urban and suburban congregations both large and small.
I sat with several folks from different congregational units. We talked about new program resources, and after I invited them all to the Triennial Gathering, a woman who is very active in her unit asked, “What’s our next Women of the ELCA assignment?”
I responded with Bold Women’s Day (which can be celebrated anytime) and Rachel’s Day! Her response to my suggestions was revealing. I guess she could tell from the look on my face that her answer caught me and the rest of the women off guard, and even though she tried to explain, it didn’t make it easier for the women at the table. Her answer, in a nutshell, was that gun violence is a problem somewhere else–the children in her congregation and community were safe, and Rachel’s Day is a day that they don’t need to observe.
Gun violence is part of American culture, and it affects the lives of all children.
It shapes how their generation will trust, love, do business, and live in community.
It doesn’t just happen somewhere else. No community, no group of people, is isolated from it.
It happens each day on inner city streets and in Amish communities. Just look around at the children who have lost their lives to gun violence this past year in neighborhoods everywhere. Boys learn to commit violent acts against women and girls through video games played in school yards every day, while girls learn how to be shrinking violets and bullies.
So is Rachel’s Day is a foolish hope?
Most of the folks at the table didn’t think so.
Valora Starr is director for discipleship, Women of the ELCA. See our Web site for program resources and ideas for observing Rachel’s Day.