Heeding God’s Call

8812 Germantown Ave.

Philadelphia, PA 19118

 

Bryan Miller

(267) 519-5302

info@heedinggodscall.org

 

www.heedinggodscall.org

 

Heeding God’s Call is a faith-based, grass roots movement to stop gun violence.  Their goals are to convince gun sellers to be good citizens, and to motivate people of faith to become more active in reducing gun violence. Since its formation in 2009, Heeding has requested gun shop owners who have a documented record for selling guns illegally to join their Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership, by subscribing to a voluntary 10-point code of ethics. When the gun sellers refuse, Heeding God’s Call begins twice monthly vigils outside the shops to call public attention to the illegal sales, which so often lead to violence. The first gun shop so targeted actually closed as a result of Heeding God’s Call’s actions. In addition, Heeding God’s Call works with families of victims of gun violence, holding interfaith Murder Site Vigils every other month. The vigils reassure families that they are not alone, and often attract passers-by to join in. The third activity sponsored by Heeding God’s Call is the installation of “Memorials to the Lost.” Youth create T-shirts bearing the names of gun victims in Philadelphia from the previous year, plus their ages and the dates of their deaths (which raises awareness that real people, often young, are lost to gun violence.) Then the T-shirts are displayed together (looking like cloth tombstones) for two weeks per location on the grounds of congregations and schools. It is a powerful witness to participants in the project and the wider community. Finally, Heeding God’s Call raises awareness of the root causes of gun violence by providing speakers throughout the community and written “toolkits” for Congregational Partners that help fund the organization. Groups in other cities have used the toolkit to develop organizations similar to Heeding God’s Call.