“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation; they will train for war no more.
Everyone will sit under their own vine and fig tree.
No one shall make them afraid.”
Our Share the Plate offering for September is for RAWtools, a nonprofit started in 2013 by Mike Martin of Colorado Springs.
In the book Beating Guns, co-authored with Shane Claiborne, Mike tells this story:
One of my friends was a gun owner who began to question why we have assault rifles on our streets. He owned a number of guns, and one of them was an AK-47. After the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hood Elementary, which claimed the lives of twenty kids and six adults, he donated the AK-47 so that it could be destroyed and repurposed. My father and I met with a blacksmith and learned how to create garden tools from that AK-47, and RAWtools was born. Five years later he donated his handgun.
Do you know why the nonprofit is called RAWtools? RAW is WAR turned around. There is much more to RAWtools than turning firearms into tools or beautiful things. RAWtools works with other organizations to prevent gun violence and armed conflict, to “disarm people’s hearts, restore peace and cultivate justice.” According to the website, “We offer resources, skills, and practices to handle conflict in creative ways, both as violence prevention and as healing processes after violence occurs.... RAWpower Workshops: Tools for a Third Way” can include: Restorative Justice, De-Escalation, Bystander Intervention, Circle Process, Open Dialogue, and Mental Health First Aid.”
On September 9, Mike Martin will manage a safe surrender in Plymouth’s parking lot. The evening before, September 8, Mike will speak to us about the work of RAWtools. We have also invited other groups involved in some aspects of gun violence prevention: Adam Shore, Executive Director of Colorado Ceasefire, will tell us about their advocacy and about the revised Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation in Colorado; Scott Smith, Executive Director of the Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County, will explain their work locally (did you know that most lives lost in Colorado to gun violence are suicides?); and Matt Wetenkamp of the University of Colorado Anschutz Firearms and Injury Prevention Initiative group will speak to us about the important work being done there in research and firearm injury prevention. Matt is a gun owner and veteran.
Societal efforts to curtail gun violence in this country are growing, and in that growth, groups are learning the importance of cooperation and collaboration between partners in these efforts. As a church community, Plymouth is being supported in holding our September events by the United Church of Christ national organization, by the Longmont United Church of Christ, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Fort Collins, and Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins.
Thanks to those of you who have volunteered to help with these two events. If you have not signed up and still wish to help or donate, please contact me using the form on this page (which goes to me). Everyone can help by spreading the word to friends, acquaintances and relatives about the community event and about the opportunity to safely relieve themselves and their homes from unwanted firearms by contributing them for transformation on September 9 between 10am and noon.
Thanks for all that you do to make the world a better place.