More than 75 people assembled to represent the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania in Harrisburg’s “March For Our Lives” event on March 24. Led by Bishop Audrey Scanlan the group gathered in the sanctuary at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral at 11:30 a.m. to pray before walking in procession to the steps of the Pennsylvania State Capitol. There, they joined the rally—one of hundreds of “March For Our Lives” events against gun violence across the US, including a massive student-led event in the nation’s capital organized by survivors of the February 2018 shooting in Parkland, Fla.
About a dozen teens from a variety of parishes led the procession to the Capitol—including Maya Kate and Seneca Cook, who spoke at the rally. In addition to Bishop Scanlan, clergy and lay people from local parishes in Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg and Camp Hill participated. Clergy representing parishes from Franklin, Lancaster, Lycoming, Perry and York counties were also in attendance.
Several hundred people attended “March For Our Lives” Harrisburg. The diverse crowd was enthusiastic and amicable, introducing themselves to each other between speakers. In addition to the amplified voices of speakers, participants could hear the sound of horns honking as supportive drivers passed the event.
During the event, teens led the group in prayer for the dead, rally chants and demands for changes in laws controlling gun use. Speakers included students, teachers, parents, a minister and representatives of various organizations.
The rally concluded with a spirited march through Harrisburg’s downtown. “Whose streets? Our streets!” and similar chants rang through the air as the group marched down Third and Pine Streets, then up Second and State Streets—returning, once again, to the steps in front of the Capitol.
The group from the diocese stood out with their matching red signs reading “Protect children, not guns!” and “Fear has no place in our schools.” When one speaker rhetorically asked “Where are the churches?” Marchers representing the diocese waved their signs and shouted “We’re here!” in response.
The Rev. Amy Welin, Acting Dean of St. Stephen’s, said three people attending the rally asked what church her group represented, as the identical signs had drawn their attention.
“I was proud to say that we are the Episcopal Church in Central Pennsylvania,” she said.
On Tuesday, March 27, Bishop Scanlan will hold a live Zoom conference at 5 p.m. to discuss the event as well as next steps for the Episcopal Church in Central Pennsylvania. Youth, clergy, committee members and lay people are invited to participate.
Photo Credit: Lindsay Gottwald (left, right), Alexis Guszick (center)