Newtown Clergy Gather Amid More Than 3,000 Grave Markers

April 8, 2013 — Leave a comment

Media Advisory:
April 5, 2013

Contact: Shannon Craig Straw, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications; o. (202) 265-3000; c. (202) 674-5921
Brian P. Duss, Director of Communications, Sojourners; o. (202) 745-4615 c (202) 997-0184

Newtown Clergy Gather Amid More Than 3,000 Grave Markers to Remind Congress Action is Needed on Gun Violence Prevention

Prominent clergy from across the country call for vote on gun legislation

WASHINGTON – Standing in a field of more than 3,000 grave makers on the National Mall, Newtown clergy, the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, the Rev. Michael McBride of PICO National Network and others will begin a 24-hour vigil in the shadow of Capitol Hill at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, April 11. The clergy will call on Congress to vote on the gun violence prevention legislation expected soon on the floor of the Senate.

“More than 3,300 people have died as a result of gun violence since the tragedy in Newtown, and it’s past time for our leaders to act,” said the Rev. Michael McBride, director of PICO National Network’s Lifelines to Healing campaign. “We have stepped down from our pulpits and left our houses of worship to remind Congress we’re not going anywhere, until they pass meaningful legislation that bans assault weapons and high capacity magazines, institutes enforceable universal background checks, ends gun trafficking, prosecutes straw purchasers, and invests in proven strategies reduce the gun violence that plagues our cities every day.”

The vigil, sponsored by the PICO National Network’s Lifelines to Healing campaign and Sojourners, comes ahead of expected Senate votes on the assault weapons ban, universal background checks, prosecution of straw purchasers and school safety legislation. Volunteers will begin setting up the vigil at 6:00 a.m. EDT on April 11. The staging and the vigil are both open to media and coverage is welcome. Video, photo and interview opportunities will be available.

“It’s past time for our political leaders to find the moral courage to act,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners. “The majority of our country supports change, and 92 percent of Americans support universal background checks, but unfortunately powerful lobbyists for gun manufacturers have some politicians scared to do what they know is right.”

Rev. Matt Crebbin, the senior pastor of Newtown Congregational Church who officiated the interfaith memorial service with the president days after the tragic shooting, Rabbi Shaul Praver, who presided over the funeral of one of the young victims, and other clergy from Newtown will join Wallis and McBride at the vigil.


24-hour vigil commemorating the loss of 3,300 lives to gun violence since Newtown and repeating the call on Congress to act


Rev. Matt Crebbin, Senior Pastor, Newtown Congregational Church

Rabbi Shaul Praver, Congregation Adath Israel, Newtown, CT

Rev. Michael McBride, Director, Lifelines to Healing, PICO National Network

Rev. Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners

Dr. Rajwant Singh, Founder and Chairman, Sikh Council on Religion & Education

Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Bishop Noel Jones, City of Refuge Church, Los Angeles

Jeff Tieman, Chief of Staff, Catholic Health Association



The National Mall
Between 13th and 14th Street NW


Thursday, April 11, 2013
Set-up: 6:00 a.m., EDT
Vigil begins: 11:00 a.m., EDT

PICO National Network is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 60 local and state federations. PICO and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation. Learn more at

Sojourners’ mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Visit, and Follow us on Twitter at @Sojourners


View the Lifelines Clergy Signed Statement (PDF)


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