Middle Collegiate Church Adds Elevator, Takes Gun-Control Debate to Next Level

photo(73)Daniel Maurer

The church that hosted a “Wear a Hoodie to Church” mass in honor of Trayvon Martin is now preaching and praying for gun control.

Middle Collegiate Church, located on Second Avenue between Sixth and Seventh Streets, plans to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s principles of nonviolence by participating in a Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath this Sunday, along with 150 other churches across the country.

Reverend Jacqui Lewis said it was important to add faith-based voices to the national conversation about guns. “Making a just world is essential to our faith,” she said. Ms. Lewis explained that joining the movement around gun control feels especially relevant now, since 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. “The church and faithful people everywhere are called to work for a better life, a peaceful life,” she said, adding, “’love, period’ is our motto.”

The worship will begin at 11:15 a.m. Sunday and is open to the public. Christina Fleming, Middle Collegiate Church’s Director of Communications, said several guests from Broadway are planning to participate in the “extremely musically infused” celebration.

To make sure everyone including the disabled can attend such events, Middle Collegiate is currently working to add an elevator to its building, which dates back to 1892. According to Ms. Lewis, the congregation is still raising the necessary funds, though construction is already underway.

The project has been in the works for a number of years and will be completed in October, Ms. Fleming explained: “We strive to be a very inclusive church and we wanted to make the building more accessible to all people.”

For now, Ms. Lewis is asking congregants to write to their congressional representatives and join her in a march for gun control in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 26. “We’re asking people to make a commitment to pray by writing these letters, make these letters our prayer, to pray by using our feet to march for justice,” she said.