MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – Bishops from The Episcopal Church around the world are gathering in Midwest City to brainstorm ideas on how to curb violence in America.
Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace: An Episcopal Gathering to Challenge the Epidemic of Violence is an international summit hosted by the Bishop of Oklahoma, Rt. Rev. Edward Konieczny.
Church leaders think they have the answer to stopping widespread violence in our nation, and it could be right in front of us.
Rt. Rev. Edward Konieczny says if we can each change one person’s mind about acting out in some violent way, we will be that much closer to a less violent world.
To some, violence is everywhere you look. From the horrific scenes that receive widespread media attention to the everyday outbursts of violence in small communities.
“What do we as people of faith do or not do that leads someone to think that their only last option is to act out in some violent way,” says Konieczny
Former police officer turned priest, Bishop Edward Konieczny, watched the news reports out of Newtown, Connecticut and felt compelled to do something.
This week’s summit brings Episcopalian church leaders from across the world together to help create a new conversation where we set opinions, positions and political agendas aside.
“We need to move away from the polarizing comments, and the rhetoric and the finger-pointing,” says Konieczny.”And actually claim responsibility for what happens in our society.”
He says the first thing to do is to change how we see and treat one another.
“If we are not going to live in a relationship that honors and respects the dignity of all people then we in many ways are encouraging people to act out against one another,” says Konieczny
And as Konieczny learned of one Pennsylvania student’s stabbing rampage Wednesday morning, he said to himself, ‘this is why we are here.’
“It’s one more example of why it is such an urgent topic for us and why we can’t wait any longer,” says Konieczny. “We have to do something about it.”
One of the summit’s keynote speakers is England’s Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. One of Welby’s platforms is peace and reconciliation.