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All are invited to attend 5th-annual national vigil to prevent gun violence on Dec. 17

Christ Church Episcopal Parish invites community members to join faith communities across the nation in the National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Vigil, taking place at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 17 at Christ Church, 1060 Chandler Road in Lake Oswego.

"The intent of the vigil is to remember those who have lost their lives to gunfire, pray for those whose lives have been forever changed because of the loss of a loved one, and to educate one another on proven strategies to reduce gun violence," said Rev. Alison Schultz, associate rector at Christ Church.

Schultz says the Sabbath vigil at Christ Church will include moments of silence, candles, prayers and music, but beyond that nothing is prepared so that people can contemplate what action they can do to reduce the risk of gun violence.

"Maybe for you it is learning how to advocate for gun safety, or writing to your congressman, or praying," Schultz said. "Or maybe getting rid of your own gun. This event is to help us recognize there is a problem with gun violence in our country and it needs many approaches to solve it. Perhaps it's a mental health issue, perhaps people need less opportunity to access guns, perhaps we need a new way to turn our prayers into action."

The vigil is the result of the success of the fourth-annual National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath weekend held in December 2016. Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence is again joining with the Newtown Foundation and States United to Prevent Gun Violence in calling Americans across the nation to keep raising their voices for change by pledging to participate in the December 2017 vigil. Christ Church is among the congregations joining in the effort.

Newtown Foundation and Newtown Action Alliance are Newtown-based, national grassroots organization formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. The foundation's mission is to achieve the steady and continuous reduction of gun violence through legislative and cultural changes.

On Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 17, 2011, 24 national faith groups announced the formation of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, a diverse coalition of denominations and faith-based organizations united by the call of their faiths to confront America's gun violence epidemic and to rally support for policies that reduce death and injury from gunfire. According to its website, FaithsUnited.org, the coalition "has grown to more than 50 groups representing tens of millions of Americans in faith communities across the nation — and our call to confront this epidemic has grown ever more urgent and imperative.

All are welcome to attend. For more information visit ccparish.org or call the church at 503-636-5618.

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