Hundreds of voices from Harlem’s First Corinthian Baptist Church joined thousands just like theirs around the country to speak out against gun violence.
More than 150 churches nationwide that participated in the Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath this weekend, and for some worshippers, the cause is close to their hearts.
“It was about two years ago my uncle was brutally murdered in his own house due to gun violence,” said a participant.
“I am an uncle who lost a nephew at 16. He was riddled with bullets,” said another.
Some church leaders used the words of Martin Luther King Jr. to deliver their message.
“So we actually have to do something, to actually love people back to health and back to participating in a community and not hurting each other,” said a participant.
A similar conversation took place at Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village.
The Reverend Jacqui Lewis told worshippers at Middle Collegiate, “I am sick and tired of the violence, how about you?”
Congregants at Middle Collegiate say while their church is a place of peace it is also important to carry on the gun violence conversation here.
“Gun violence, as we’ve seen has just continued to skyrocket in recent months and years with these mass shootings,” said one congregant. “I think there needs to be a national dialog which should be included in our churches about why we allow these assault weapons to be used and bought.”
“We need to have this conversation now and if it starts in the churches wonderful,” said another congregant. “If it can start in the churches and then it spreads even further and the word gets out then I think at some point people will get it.”
Worshippers said they hope their voices are heard in Washington, D.C., where elected officials can come together to come up with solutions to end the violence.