By Kirk Petersen
Unexpectedly, but perhaps inevitably, gun violence became a theme of General Convention’s first day.
A man was shot to death two blocks from the Baltimore Convention Center on the afternoon of July 7, before the first legislative day. At the end of the July 8 afternoon session, a throng of bishops organized by Bishops United Against Gun Violence processed from the convention center to a location near the shooting site for a rally and worship service.
More than 200 people crowded around a bench in front of a building marked Visitor Center on the Inner Harbor, straining to hear over the sounds of traffic as a series of bishops spoke.
“We’re going to pray today, with the Bishops United Against Gun Violence,” said the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, who as Bishop of Maryland is the host bishop. He asked for prayers “for all of the victims, of the violence that’s in their hearts, the violence that’s in their hands, and the violence that comes from angry people having access to guns.”
“Yesterday there was a killing,” said Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry afterward. “Two men in a confrontation, one with a baseball bat and the other with a gun, and the one with a gun shot and killed the other man.”
As reported by The Baltimore Banner, a local news site, Timothy Reynolds, 48, was shot and killed after confronting a group of “squeegee workers” at the corner of Light and Conway streets. Squeegee workers stand at intersections in parts of Baltimore and solicit money for washing windshields.
Reynolds apparently stopped his vehicle and emerged with a metal baseball bat, which he swung at one of the squeegee workers. Someone then pulled a gun and shot Reynolds.
Earlier in the day, deputies from the Diocese of Alabama spoke to Resolution A226, honoring the three people shot and killed at a potluck supper at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama.
“In this moment, at this convention, we wish only to honor our dead and allow for our grief, as we lament these actions,” said the Rev. Candice Frazer, head of the Alabama deputation. She said Walter (Bart) Rainey, Sarah (Sharon) Yeager, and Jane Pounds were martyred as “they were welcoming a stranger to the table.”