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Gun Violence Awareness Sunday focus to be on prayer and mental health

Featured photo: Cook Women’s Missionary Society at Vernon Chapel AME Church has been prioritizing gun violence awareness in hopes of reducing senseless crimes in the community. Photos courtesy of Loretha Roberts.

Written by Tanya Terry

Loretha Roberts, president of the Cook Women’s Missionary Society at Vernon Chapel AME Church, told the Courier her grandson was murdered what will be two years ago June 15. She and others are hoping to bring awareness about how tragic gun violence can be for loved ones to help stop the nonsense that led to her grandson’s death.

The connectional women’s society at their church was the group that came up with the idea of uniting to bring awareness to the senseless gun violence that’s occurring across the globe, according to Roberts.

She said the Cook Women’s Missionary Society at Vernon Chapel AME Church became affiliated with the national group Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence. During the month of June, Cook Women’s Missionary Society members wear orange to help unify and spread gun violence awareness. Vernon Chapel AME Church has also had prayer vigils.

This year’s Cook Women’s Missionary Society Gun Violence Awareness Sunday takes place at 10:45 a.m. June 11, at Vernon Chapel AME, located at 5602 Dupont.

“Last year we had our first Gun Violence Awareness Sunday, and our theme was ‘A Call to Action,’” said Roberts. “In conjunction with passing out orange ribbons, we passed out information packets with literature regarding gun violence awareness.”

The packets not only consisted of statistics, but details on the BeSMART for, which promotes awareness of securing homes and providing gun safety for children.

For this year’s Gun Violence Awareness Sunday, Dr. Kathy Barton-Brown will be the featured speaker. She is experienced working with individuals who have been affected by gun violence.

A prayer of remembrance is being offered for gun violence victims and their surviving loved ones.

Loretha Roberts lost her grandson because of gun violence June 15, approximately two years ago.

“There’s a special request for a song, ‘Always Peace’ by Brian Courtney Wilson, explained Roberts.

Barton-Brown is a psychotherapist. Roberts reached out to her and asked her to speak at the upcoming service.

“I’ve heard her speak several times on Facebook, and she really touched me because in her messages she always sought out spiritual aspects, quoting scriptures from the Bible. That’s really something that touched my heart!”

This year’s theme is “Empowering the Affected Leads to Good Help.” According to Roberts, the focus will be on prayer and mental health care.

“Not only do we pray, but we need sometimes to seek out therapy. You don’t need to be ashamed to ask for help.”

Gun locks will be distributed at the event. In addition, orange pinwheels will be placed outside the church.

“We will have ribbons, and we will have an information packet again. For that packet, what I pulled out was the new gun laws that Governor Whitmer just signed into law April 13 and things you need to know about gun laws in the United States.”

The mission statement of the Cook Women’s Missionary Society is: We are called to continue the faith. We are called to strengthen our faith and sent to continue the ministry of Jesus Christ through service and witness in the world.






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