A blacksmith will turn guns into gardening tools and jewelry at an interfaith event against violence

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral

At an upcoming event in Harrisburg, community members will come together to promote peace.

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral will host “PA Prays: Forging Justice and Peace from Violence” on September 18 in an effort to inspire unity and advocacy.

“The level of gun violence in Harrisburg this year is staggering,” said Reverend Amy Welin of St. Stephen’s. “We invite people to put their legs to their prayers and do something about it.”

According to Welin, the event is an interfaith gathering, open to those of all religions or no religion.

In a unique demonstration at 1 p.m., James E. Curry, a blacksmith from the nonprofit Swords to Plowshares, will reconfigure firearms into gardening tools and jewelry. Curry, of Connecticut, works with police departments to collect firearms taken off the streets or collected through gun buy-back programs. He then transforms them and gives or sells the parts.

After the demonstration, at 4 p.m., there will be readings of religious texts, music by a community choir, prayers, lighting of memorial candles, and discussions on ways to advocate for safety through public policy.

Harrisburg artist Vivian Sterste will also be hosting a community mural project for the event. She plans to provide a large canvas and painting supplies to community members and other local artists to create a mural around the themes of gun violence and peace. The mural will then travel to churches around the city interested in displaying the work for a period of time.

“I am extremely excited that there is an interfaith coalition that will tackle this issue,” Sterste said. “I just want to encourage people. It’s about spreading hope.

St. Stephen’s is one of five Episcopal dioceses in the state that will participate in prayer services in response to gun violence on Sept. 18. Harrisburg Cathedral took the initiative to launch “PA Prays” and encourage the other four dioceses to join, according to Welin. This is the first year of the event.

“Our humanity binds us together,” Welin said. “It’s an opportunity for us to be human together. I can’t wait to be with our neighbors.

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral is located at 221 N. Front St., Harrisburg. For more information, visit their website.

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