Interfaith prayer circle held to end gun violence

Members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community sit in the heart of the prayer circle to open the interfaith service to end gun violence in Michigan. (Journal photo by Dreyma Beronja)

MARQUETTE — Over 30 people gathered at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Wednesday for an interfaith prayer circle service to end gun violence in Michigan. The prayer service opened with a drum circle from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

Bishop Rayford Ray of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan led the service, opening with a land acknowledgment for the Anishinaabe people.

Following the land acknowledgment, NMU professor Martin Reinhardt from the Center for Native American Studies spoke about his personal experiences with guns and gun violence along with the history of Indigenous peoples and guns.

“What I do know, however, is that gun violence cannot be ignored,” Reinhardt said. “It’s OK to hope and pray that it will go away and not touch our lives, but if that’s the extent of our efforts then my estimation will be foolish and irresponsible.”

Afterward, those who sat in the prayer circle joined together for a litany in the wake of a mass shooting. In the circle, each person read one incident of gun violence followed by saying the phrase, “Give to the departed eternal rest.” Attendees then responded to the reader with the phrase, “Let light perpetual shine upon them.”

Hannah Holma, interim executive director and program director of the Marquette and Alger counties Women’s Center, reflected on domestic violence before Ray closed with additional remarks and prayer.

“We’ve lost too many of our loved ones to suicide and gun accidents,” Ray said in an email. “We have an opportunity to save lives, and we need the legislation to seize it right away.”

For more information on ending gun violence in Michigan, go online at migunsafety.org. To join efforts in the U.P., contact diocese@upepiscopal.org.


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