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  • Writer's pictureMennonite Women USA

Thoughts and Prayers AND Action

Senseless murders from gun violence are now at epidemic levels. Almost every day we read of homicides at public gatherings, mall shootings, and active shooters in schools. Many of us react with feelings of hopelessness, despair, and fear. I have experienced each of these and pray that I don’t become numb to the horrors taking place in our communities. As Nana to two wonderful boys, I don’t want to be at the other end of that dreaded phone call.

   

I’ve asked myself what I can do. How could I make even a small difference? I don’t have an answer. However, I believe God has been preparing me for a divine assignment. I have never been an activist but, in retirement, maybe…just maybe. 


Enacting “common sense” gun laws should be just that, common sense. But the issue is polarized and political. Many Americans love their guns and second amendment rights and that is the end of the discussion for them. And we are all aware of the power of the NRA!  While we churn with inaction, there is another mass school shooting and our leaders offer thoughts and prayers. In our mourning and horror we say something needs to be done, and then life goes on and nothing happens. I believe strongly in the power of prayer, but I also believe that action is a form of prayer. God wants us to do what we can.

  

I began attending a Mennonite church about six years ago after leaving another denomination. As a novice Anabaptist, I gained a deeper understanding of peace and justice issues. I joined Salford Mennonite Church and, with their support, was inspired to become an active volunteer for Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence (commonly referred to as Heeding God’s Call). I am now the Montgomery County, PA coordinator for this organization that engages faith communities in awareness and advocacy activities. 


I learned of Heeding God’s Call at an event held at Salford Mennonite and met the Executive Director, Bryan Miller, who had lost a brother to gun violence. A few months later I learned that a Memorial to the Lost (a Heeding God’s Call activity) was being organized on MLK Day, 2023 at a church nearby. A Memorial to the Lost is a display of t-shirts with the names of gun violence victims in a county (in this case, 67 shirts for victims in Montgomery County, PA over the last five years). I also joined the planning committee for the End Gun Violence Walk held in the same town last spring. Many churches came together to plan this community event. Hundreds of people walked through town carrying signs. A service was held before and after the walk with singing, prayer, and inspirational speakers. At the end, we signed legislative letters to support specific state and national bills.  


After a lot of prayer and contemplation, I called Bryan Miller and told him I wanted to volunteer. This year our events are growing in popularity so I have been quite busy and feel that I can contribute in meaningful ways. I am so glad I took this step of faith and am honored to be part of this important work. I have had opportunities to hear victim’s family members speak of their grief and students speak of their fear of simply going to school. And I have realized: I can’t do everything but, with God’s help, I can do something.  



Cindy Scheetz

Salford Mennonite Church, Harleysville PA

Heeding God’s Call Coordinator, Montgomery County PA



For more information on Heeding God’s Call, see our website at: https://www.heedinggodscall.org


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Mennonite Women USA values what all women have to say and Women's Voices blog is a space to honor their words.

Posts are reviewed for tolerance and respect but don't necessarily reflect MW USA's official position.

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