Episcopal clergy go orange against gun violence

Clergy from the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio wear orange stoles ahead of Wear Orange Sunday
Clergy from the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio wear orange stoles ahead of Wear Orange Sunday on June 5, 2016. Back row: Mary L. Staley of St. Paul’s, Put-in-Bay; Kay N. Ashby of St. Matthew’s, Ashland; Brian K. Wilbert of Christ Church, Oberlin; June Hardy Dorsey of St. Andrew’s, Elyria; Beth Frank of New Life, Uniontown; C. Eric Funston of St. Paul’s, Ohio; Sarah Shofstall of St. Barnabas, Bay Village; Gayle L. Catinella of St John’s, Youngstown; Rosalind Hughes of Epiphany, Euclid. Front Row: Stephen Secaur of St. Bartholomew, Mayfield Village; Mary C. Carson of Redeemer, Lorain; Christopher McCann of St. Luke’s, Chardon; Rachel C. Kessler of Harcourt Parish, Gambier. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Jeff Bunke, Perrysburg, Ohio

(RNS) Orange isn’t a traditional liturgical color in the Episcopal Church.

But on Sunday, June 5, Episcopal clergy across the country are planning to wear orange stoles as a stand against gun violence, inspired by the Wear Orange campaign.

“Everybody has some story somewhere where gun violence has touched their lives or the lives of their congregation that has made them say, ‘Yes, we know this problem is there, and we know that we have a call to address it,'” said the Rev. Rosalind Hughes, rector of Church of the Epiphany in Euclid, Ohio.

The idea came when the Rev. C. Eric Funston, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Medina, Ohio, posted on Facebook back in April about Wear Orange, which asks people to wear the color for National Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 2.

Funston wondered whether he could find an orange stole to wear the following Sunday. That’s a great idea, Hughes commented, and she offered to make one.

The two posted the idea and Hughes’ offer on a Facebook group for clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio. Not only did they get the blessing of their bishop, but also from Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the organizations behind Wear Orange, and Bishops United Against Gun Violence.

Hughes had made matching stoles once before for a friend’s ordination, so she knew she could do it. What she didn’t anticipate, she said, was how many clergypersons would respond: By week’s end, she’ll have made 38 or 40 for clergy as far away as Louisville, Ky., and Memphis, Tenn.

Dioceses from as far away as Long Island, Washington, D.C., and Chicago also have invited their clergy to participate.

So often when the topic of gun violence comes up, Hughes said, so does the topic of despair. But, she said. “As people of faith, we have something to say about despair.”

“The idea is of taking that orange … to the pulpit and bringing that message of hope in defiance of despair.”

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.


Click here to post a comment

  • I guess they’re bored with the rest of the liturgical year that celebrates the risen Christ, so this liberal bunch can’t resist turning to the political to alienate even more of their dwindling numbers. In the interest of integrity, what color stoles should they wear to celebrate the many lives SAVED by guns, in the hands of the right people? Chew on that one–it’s a long time until Advent!

  • Not sure what’s exclusively “liberal” about wanting to address the problem of gun violence. I’m pretty conservative, but even I recognize the need for a common effort to figure out how to reduce the violence. Nothing was said about gun control. Nothing was said about voiding the 2nd amendment. Seems to me the church can be a powerful voice in the effort to make all of us safer.

  • Oh Sabel, you have such a hate-on for the Episcopal Church, regardless of any good thing they do. Attack boy! Attack!

  • No hate or attack–just some facts that persist, beneath Katie Couric’s totally skewed misinformation that’s pablum for those in the EC who’re more interested in politics than spirituality. Since souls don’t matter, a life saved is a life saved–period! Women like you need to purchase a fine piece and get some first-rate training so they know how to respond definitively when you’re ATTACKED!

  • Ohferpete’ssake. I don’t know what Katie Couric has to do with this. I know that ECUSA does lots of very fine work caring for the ones who are beaten and in the ditch.

    I probably know more about guns than you do, so don’t make simple and wrong assumptions. I grew up on a farm with guns. I’ve hunted everything from gophers with a .22 to white tail deer with a .243. Pheasants with a .12 gauge shotgun was my favorite. I’m a good shot and even though I have lived in a city of 3.3 million people since 2007, I haven’t forgotten how to shoot. BTW, I have a .38 special that I enjoy using, but I don’t focus on using it to shoot other people.

  • The Episcopal Church —- replacing leading the lost to Jesus Christ and teaching the Bible with the Democratic Party platform. No wonder they’ve been declining for decades.

  • They’re not against guns. They’re against law-abiding people having guns. Like all gun control tyrants, they don’t mind criminals having guns to commit crimes.

  • These liberals have no interest in addressing gun violence. They just want to make sure that law abiding people will have to depend on government (the god of liberals) to take care of their safety. In fact, the more gun violence, the better for them.

  • No person ever called for gun control but out of an abiding hatred of human freedom and human rights.

  • There we go folks, The Definitive Answer for any nuanced and thoughtful position on sensible gun safety:

    ***There is no such thing!
    ***It’s all a nefarious plot to destroy freedom and every single one of our rights!

    Really OD? The only answer to such a ridiculous comment was to turn sarcasm to Full On. I hope/wish you were being sarcastic too.

  • Let’s look at this rationally. Liberals seek at every turn to remove guns from those who follow the law. They regulate them and tax them and restrict them endlessly. They create “common sense” regulations that serve solely to inconvenience and cause expense to those who follow the law. Then, when people say “enough” they turn sarcasm “Full On” [sic].

    Liberals never seek to get criminals off the streets. Only the guns that will protect law abiding people from them. They place signs on businesses “No Guns Allowed” so that criminals can commit their crimes unmolested by an armed response. They never think, “Gee, that guy who’s murdered six people and raped twenty women–maybe he should be executed, or at least locked up a few weeks.” But Heaven help the homeowner who doesn’t register his gun–“off to the gallows for you!”

    They demand that guns be “smart” so that they will be guaranteed not to function when they’re most desperately needed.

    So do you think when all the law abiding people are disarmed and defenseless, the criminals will suddenly decide it’s unfair to use guns against them?

  • By the way, we all would just love to hear your “sensible gun safety” proposals and how those proposals would actually help the situation.

    And don’t give us any fake “gun show loophole” garbage.

    No, tell us what brilliant, “sensible” law you’ve got that will actually cut down on the already falling rates of gun murders we have in this country.

  • I’ve responded in a sarcastic and silly way because your caricature of people who favor more control of guns is so absurd.

    Sensible regulations?

    Background checks on every gun sale everywhere. (Yes, close the gun show loophole. It’s real, whether you like it or not.)
    Bar anyone convicted of domestic violence or currently under protection order from possessing guns.
    Bar anyone convicted of a felony from gun possession.
    Require anyone with a mental illness diagnosis to receive approval from their doctor. (This includes a requirement for all mental health professionals to enter names of those diagnosed on a database.)

    Those are off the top of my head and not intended to be everything one might consider.

  • There is no gun show loophole. Gun shows are governed by the same law as every other transaction. The fact that you’re too ignorant to learn the law just shows the level of intellect of the typical gun confiscator. But if you’re so sure of yourself, go to a gun show. Stroll right on up to one of the dealers and demand he sell you a gun without a background check because of the gun show loophole. A friendly ATF agent will be quickly dispatched to escort you to a decade of federal food and housing (it’s a felony to try to purchase a gun without the requisite background check). Enjoy.

    Domestic violence–already the law

    Felony–already the law

    Mental illness–the law is already stricter than that. Any diagnosis of mental illness is a permanent bar to ownership of a firearm.

    The only thing you’ve proposed that isn’t already the law is making it against the law to allow a father to give his son a rifle for Christmas or for a man to loan his brother his duck hunting shotgun for the weekend.

  • Okay, this is the last time because I’m tired of your rudeness and ignorant assumptions.

    No, those are not the law and/or not enforced. The problem is the background checks system has been hamstrung by Republican obstruction and funding removal.

    I have gone to gun shows in 3 different states and I have seen sales without any checks of any kind.

    Now, as I’m said, I’m done trying to have an effective discussion with you. That’s not what you want. Your goal is to feel superior through your ignorance and incivility.

  • First, you’re lying. You’ve never been to a gun show in your life. If you had, you would realize that they conduct background checks at gun shows–it’s the law.

    What’s beyond frustrating with people like you is that you don’t even try to understand what the facts are. You just parrot whatever fact-free position the gun confiscators tell you to parrot. Then, when you encounter a lawyer who actually knows the law on the subject, you start screaming “rude” and run away.

    You have no interest in having a conversation. No liberal ever does. Liberals can’t explain why they want to violate human rights, so they shut down any conversation.

  • It never ceases to amaze me, what wingers will come up with, to justify whatever is going on in their heads. No wonder 2Rump is a serious candidate.

  • One can only read these remarks with utter amazement,the drama queen’s, not yours. No wonder that Trumpelstiltskin in a serious candidate for president.

  • See, this is why ad hominem is so ineffective as an argument.

    What is your specific complaint about my comment?

  • All style, no substance. This is the liturgical equivalent of using hashtags to get your point across.

  • I know Ben. My Mama told me, “Doan mess wit no trolls!” As usual, Mama was right.

2019 NewsMatch Campaign: This Story Can't Wait! Donate.