Garden tool

Bishop, blacksmithing crew melt guns for garden tools in Swords to Plowshares demonstration – Episcopal News Service

Bishop Jim Curry, proper, retired bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Connecticut, guides Washington Bishop Mariann Budde in hammering and shaping the metallic of a former gun right into a backyard software on Capitol Hill. Picture: David Deutsch
[Episcopal News Service] The Rt. Rev. Jim Curry answered his telephone Nov. 15 whereas driving his Toyota Highlander south down Interstate 95 towards Washington, D.C., with two colleagues on board. The automobile was towing a trailer loaded with their important cargo: a conventional blacksmithing forge.
Curry, a founding member of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, and his Connecticut-based crew had been on their technique to seem the following day on Capitol Hill to reveal how they soften down weapons and switch them into gardening instruments. The nonprofit he co-founded in 2017, Swords to Plowshares Northeast, is centered on the method.
The group takes its identify from a passage from Isaiah 2:4 – “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.” Swords to Plowshares promotes gun security with a visible, tangible ministry that Curry says is each sensible and symbolic.
“After we began evangelizing and speaking to police departments and communities across the nation and we may present them the precise transformation, these weapons of dying into devices of life, it’s simply been a tremendous course of,” Curry advised Episcopal Information Service. “Folks actually get it.”
Bishop Jim Curry heats the metallic of a former gun within the cell forge utilized by the nonprofit Swords to Plowshares Northeast in its demonstrations. Picture: David Deutsch
Curry retired in 2014 as bishop suffragan within the Diocese of Connecticut. He now serves as chief blacksmith for Swords to Plowshares, demonstrating his expertise with a hammer and anvil at gun buyback occasions throughout the Northeast. He’s helped the nonprofit destroy about 800 weapons in 4 years. Extra had been melted down Nov. 16 when Curry and the blacksmithing crew fired up the forge throughout the midday hour exterior the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, a couple of block and a half from the U.S. Capitol.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, each Democrats from Connecticut, attended the demonstration and took part in a part of the method of melting and reshaping the previous weapons. Washington Bishop Marianne Budde additionally joined them.
The group’s ministry is deeply rooted in Connecticut, the place lawmakers and Episcopal leaders had been moved to motion on gun reforms by the December 2012 bloodbath at Sandy Hook Elementary College in Newtown, which left 20 college students and 6 educators lifeless. Curry recollects responding to the scene of the shooting that day with Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas and Bishop Suffragan Laura Ahrens.
“Fairly frankly, you don’t reside by that with out your lives altering,” Curry stated.
Within the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy, the Connecticut bishops joined with bishops in different dioceses that had been grieving mass shootings and fashioned Bishops United In opposition to Gun Violence. The community, with greater than 100 member bishops, now’s a number one churchwide voice of advocacy for gun security laws and customary sense precautions, like gun locks and safes. The bishops additionally memorialize the victims of gun violence and provide prayers and pastoral care to survivors.
In Washington, The Episcopal Church’s advocacy is led by the Workplace of Authorities Relations, which has pushed this 12 months for passage of laws that might strengthen and broaden background checks for gun purchases. The Home handed two such payments this 12 months, however they’ve since stalled within the Senate. “A majority of Individuals acknowledge the pressing want for gun reform,” the Workplace of Authorities Relations stated in an action alert to its Episcopal Public Policy Network.
The company’s advocacy follows Episcopal coverage positions established by Normal Conference in resolutions courting to 1976 that decision for laws to deal with the issue of gun violence.
Bishop Jim Curry exhibits one of many completed instruments created from surrendered weapons as a part of the Swords to Plowshares demonstration Nov. 16 in Washington, D.C. Picture: David Deutsch
Elevating consciousness of these positions is one purpose of Swords to Plowshares, and the demonstration on Nov. 16 in Washington was organized to attract the eye of lawmakers, information shops and passersby on Capitol Hill.
“The biblical promise of swords being become plowshares was reenacted at the moment. Our hope is that we are able to all assist to construct a extra peaceable world,” Lindsey Warburton, a coverage analyst with the Workplace of Authorities Relations, stated in an emailed assertion to ENS. “We’re glad to assist Swords to Plowshares, the work of Bishops United towards Gun Violence, and advocacy to the U.S. authorities to make sure our communities don’t endure any extra from gun violence.”
The cell blacksmithing forge that Curry and his workforce use is fired by propane, and their blacksmithing instruments embrace hammers, tongs, chisels and anvils. They take the barrels of rifles, pistols and shotguns and warmth them within the forge after which reshape the malleable metallic into hand instruments. Trowels, formed from shotgun barrels, are comparatively straightforward, Curry advised ENS. It takes 10 to fifteen minutes to get the tough form. Revolvers and rifles sometimes are comprised of heavier metals, which take extra time to mildew, he stated. The blacksmiths then grind the metallic to finish the software.
The concept for Swords to Plowshares was impressed by a Mennonite blacksmithing ministry in Colorado referred to as RAWtools. Its motto: “Disarm hearts. Forge peace. Domesticate justice.” After listening to about RAWtools’ efforts to gather surrendered weapons and soften them down, Curry went to apprentice with them.
Taking what he discovered, Curry and the workforce now accomplice with police businesses and different native teams to organize gun buybacks, at which weapons may be surrendered with no questions requested, in trade for money or different compensation. After the weapons are remodeled into gardening instruments, Swords to Plowshares donates them to neighborhood gardens.
The strategy and the message are intently intertwined, Curry stated, and this transformation that ends the weapons’ existence may be emotionally highly effective for observers. At a latest session in Massachusetts, “because the gardeners noticed us making instruments and obtained instruments from us, they had been simply in tears,” Curry stated. “The bigger message is, as a society we don’t should be sure by violence.”
Curry acknowledged that the group can solely soften down weapons which are surrendered, leaving loads of weapons out of the group’s attain in a rustic the place 40% of adults live in a household with a gun.
He emphasised that 60% of the 40,000 gun deaths annually in the USA are not homicides but suicides. “These suicides are as a result of unsecured weapons can be found to individuals at moments of disaster. Buybacks get these weapons out of houses,” Curry stated.
He additionally lamented the a whole bunch of individuals wounded or killed within the U.S. yearly in accidental shootings by children; weapons are also prime targets for thefts from houses, particularly in suburban communities. In response, Swords to Plowshares works with its neighborhood companions to encourage gun homeowners to acquire locks and safes to safe their firearms.
“If individuals can rethink their must have unsecured weapons of their home, then we’re actually altering the understanding of the place of weapons in our lives,” he stated.
From left, Bishop Jim Curry, Steve Yanovsky and Pina Violano, co-founders of Swords to Plowshares Northeast, maintain up a few of the backyard instruments they created from former weapons throughout an indication of the method on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Picture: David Deutsch
Destroying weapons is probably the most direct manner Swords to Plowshares fulfills its mission. The backyard instruments that had been created Nov. 16 on Capitol Hill principally got here from metallic obtained in gun buybacks held within the Connecticut communities of New Haven, Guilford and Hamden, Curry stated, and so they ultimately can be put within the fingers of gardeners.
That course of conveys “an actual sense of transformation,” he stated. “That’s what offers hope.”
– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal Information Service. He may be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

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