Peaceful protest against NRA hits home

Clergy gathers to remember those lost at Sandy Hook.


This post was updated on December 18.

Church leaders in the Martha’s Vineyard Island Clergy Association marched in silence through the snow Thursday morning to stand against the NRA and gun violence on the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting. “Enough is enough,” the Rev. Bill Clark of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard, said. “It’s time for change.”

Determined to not let the snow obscure their mission, about 20 religious leaders met at Owen Park in Vineyard Haven, huddled under the pavilion, then began their march down Main Street. With pizza box signs and clerical robes, they made their icy trek to Five Corners.

The march was organized in association with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, Va., who marched in front of NRA headquarters in Fairfax today. This was the Virginia church’s first national interfaith worship event. The Island Clergy Association was invited to join the march in Fairfax, but instead of making the long trip to Virginia, took this opportunity to organize its own mini march in support of the cause.

At Five Corners, marchers gathered in a circle, and began with a prayer. Interspersed with moments of silence, songs, and prayers, they took turns reading the 26 names of the Sandy Hook victims, including the shooter and his mother.

The Island Clergy coordinated the march and prayer timing with the schedule in Virginia, to remain a unified front, though from afar.

Rev. Sharon Eckhardt, a retired lutheran pastor living in Vineyard Haven, said “The issue is very basic: how do we respect [Second Amendment] rights, while also having public safety secure.”

Closing out with “Amazing Grace” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” the Rev. Eckhardt said lyrics of those songs embody their message perfectly: “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

Although this march marked the Island Clergy’s first gathering dealing with gun violence, they’ve come together on multiple other occasions, standing up for causes such as homelessness and hunger, according to organizers.


  1. Sounds like a bunch of Democrats blaming the NRA for gun violence. More laws? Like Chicago? With the strictest gun laws in the nations, it leads with over 500 homicides this year. Take it up with the criminals, and the prosecuters who do not enforce the strict federal laws (already in place) to put the criminals away. Nobody wants violence, but your protest towards your neighbors, many of whom are law abiding NRA members makes you look foolish and political puppets. How about a protest against criminals and leave the law abiding members of the NRA out of your sights if you want any credibility.

    • Ignorance has become the Republican party. Nothing you’ve said is factually correct. Chicago does not have the toughest gun laws nor the highest gun death per capita. Everyone already doesn’t like criminals.
      The fact of the matter is, (Australia is a recent example) if you pass gun bans, deaths by firearms are reduced dramatically.

      You sound like you’ve just given up on reality and become a drone of Fox News. I know you aren’t the only one…and that’s what is really sad about our country right now. The United States has become a celebration of ignorance and avarice.

      • Ignorance and fake news has always been the Democrat party. Everything stated is a fact. Stop blaming honest law abiding gun owners for the inability of your party to control crime in Democratic run states/cities. Hows that working out in Chicago which IS the crime capital of the USA. How about Detroit. Now go back to MSNBC CNN Washington Post NY Times and the rest of your fake news purveyors. Better yet, move to Australia. The only thing you forgot to call me was a sexist and a racist which is the only answer a Democrat has to facts. So if you want to see ignorance look in the mirror.

    • The majority of guns used for criminal activity come from Indiana, right next door. So long as their neighbors maintain a laissez faire attitude about guns, any and all attempts at gun control in Illinois will fail. Gun control works (see Australia) but not when done in a piecemeal fashion.

  2. There is nothing the NRA ever did for anybody. That so many politicians are beholden to the NRA shows the depth of ignorance and avarice in our nation. Money talks in this country. Even if your talk means the deaths of untold innocent men, women and children. The NRA is garbage in and garbage out.

  3. The right to own a gun is not going to go away. Your wishful thinking and liberal demonstrations only prove that you have nothing to do. Guns are not killing people by themselves. It takes a person, evil or misguided to kill another person with a gun. Why would you protest here in Mass with one of the strictest set of gun laws in the nation. Yes, Chicago has very strict laws as well and that doesn’t seem to slow them down. If you want to protest something protest the fact that almost no one who commits a crime with an illegal gun gets any jail time. It is almost always pleaded down to the minimum, because we wouldn’t want to actually put a criminal in jail…. it would hurt their feelings.

  4. Pray for peace, but why parade around Politics you don’t understand. If they spent less time coloring in pizza boxes and maybe Spent more learning about the root causes of gun violence and better yet regular old violence in general in our country, the overall message may be more widely accepted. I’m not saying don’t get involved, but shouting nonsense isn’t a solution.
    Btw, Australia is a ridiculous example, only shows you’re not serious about the conversation.

    • Australia is a settler nation similar to ourselves historically and culturally. They have had an incredibly effective gun buyback and restriction program that has meaningfully reduced gun violence in their country. I would love to hear why you think it is so ridiculous to think it work here, aside from the unstoppable gun control lobby and smooth-brained portion of this country that thinks Red Dawn was a documentary.

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