Turning a gun into a garden tool is the centerpiece of a gun violence prevention event Sunday at Raleigh Mennonite Church.
On Sunday, Nov. 12, the congregation will welcome the Colorado-based group RAW Tools to its worship service at 10:30 a.m. There, RAW Tools will take a donated gun and turn it into a tool to be used in the garden.
RAW Tools was founded by Mike Martin, a Mennonite, and the group is putting into action Scripture in the Bible’s books of Isaiah and Micah that details turning swords into plows.
The message at the service will also focus specifically on preventing using a gun to commit suicide.
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“We decided to focus on suicide by gun because this is an often overlooked aspect of gun death in America,” said Melissa Florer-Bixler, pastor at Raleigh Mennonite Church. “Suicide by gun makes up two-thirds of gun deaths every year in the U.S.A.”
One speaker at the service will recount the impact of having a loved one use a gun to commit suicide. Putting an end to violence is central to the beliefs of Mennonites.
“As pacifist Christians, we find ourselves engaging in work that confronts both explicit forms of violence like access to guns, military recruitment and drone warfare as well as implicit violence like money bail, lack of affordable housing, racism in the judicial system. That has taken us to prisons and protests, racial equity training and LGBTQ inclusion.” Florer-Bixler said.
From 12 noon to 4 p.m., there will be an art fair and a raffle that will benefit NC Gun Violence. There will also be a children’s program, a gospel choir and Flaatz food truck. Church organizers hope the activities, including the demonstration by RAW Tools, helps to stop violence and encourage more conversation and thought.
“At the core of our belief is that we follow after Jesus, who told us another world is possible,” Florer-Bixler said. “But first we have to figure out how to lay down our swords. We want to join with others to discover this new world emerging. RAW Tools gives us an image of what is possible.”
Davie Street Presbyterian Church USA in downtown Raleigh will be celebrating its 149th anniversary this weekend. Friday night services, beginning at 7 p.m. will feature Rev. Dr. Omotolokun Omokunde, from Timothy Darling Presbyterian Church USA, with dinner after the service.
On Saturday, a day of service will include a free community shredding event in the church’s parking lot from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the collection of canned goods for the church’s Food Bank, and distribution of toiletries and clothing to the homeless from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
During the 11 a.m. Sunday service, the church will have guest speaker Dr. Saundra Wall Williams, and dinner will follow the service.
The public is invited to all events. Davie Street Presbyterian is at 300 E. Davie St. Go to daviestpresbyterian.org or call the church office at 919-834-8855.
The Guns to Garden Tools service is 10:30 a.m. at Raleigh Mennonite Church, 1116 N. Blount St., Raleigh (Shared space with Hope Charter School). Activities with RAW Tools follow from noon to 4 p.m. Go to raleighmennonite.org or rawtools.org.