FROM THE DESK OF

The Rev. Ledlie I.
Laughlin
Rector , St. Columba's
Episcopal Church
Washington, DC
Dear Ones,
 
As our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, has recently stated,  "We in the United States are in the midst of a great discussion,  a great debate." The young people of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,  "are asking us, and imploring us, and challenging us to find a better way...  to make our schools safe, to make our streets safe, and to make this country safe  for all of God's children and all of God's people."
 
Thousands of young people and their supporters will descend  on Washington on Saturday, March 24, "to demand that their  lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence  and mass shootings in our schools today." This grassroots movement
is being led by youth with the support of Everytown for Gun Safety  and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America . The best way to  stay informed about the official march itself is to visit www.marchforourlives.com  and  RSVP to march.
The route of the march and gathering location 
have not yet been determined.
 
Washington National Cathedral will host an Interfaith Prayer Vigil on  the eve of the march, Friday, March 23. The program is being planned  by a collaborative coalition of young people and interfaith leaders. Register here if you plan to attend the vigil--tickets are required. 
 
Members of the Diocese are invited to join the official Episcopal  contingent and march together as a group. Click here to let us know your plans. While the route of the march and gathering location  have not yet been determined, if you RSVP we will email you details  when they're available.
 
Ways you can support this important effort:
  • Host out-of-town guests in your home:
    The diocese is coordinating 
    housing for marchers coming to DC from across the country. If you have a spare room you can offer, please click here and complete the form.
  • Make sack lunches for the marchers:
    Join other St. Columbans
    on Thurs., Mar. 22 from 4-7 pm in the Great Hall. All ages are welcome. (Children younger than 5th grade should come with a parent.)
  • Take action on an assault weapons ban: (through the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations). Click here and tell Congress to ban assault weapons. Click here and tell the Senate to oppose the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.
  • Support Bishops United Against Gun Violence: Click here to learn more about their "Call to Action."
On a related topic and in light of recent shootings at houses of worship, the vestry and I have made it a priority to ensure the safety of everyone who worships, studies, and works at St. Columba's--on Sunday, and every day of the week. I have been in
touch with the Diocese for recommendations, and we have set up a small task force of vestry and staff members to review that information along with current practices in other churches, schools, and similar sites so that the vestry can make an informed judgment on whether and what additional steps may be appropriate.

Finding the right balance between specific security programs and providing an environment that is warm and welcoming is especially important in a faith community.
 
If you have hopes, concerns, thoughts or questions about any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
 
In the name of our Savior, the Prince of Peace, Ledlie.

 
Peace!   
   
Ledlie Laughlin, Rector
Email: llaughlin@columba.org 

St. Columba's | 4201 Albemarle St., NW | Washington, DC 20016 | Columba.org