Prayers for Peace

Tuesday, January 30th, 2024

Logo for the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania

My siblings in Christ,

In 2018, I found myself writing in response to an act of hate at the Tree of Life synagogue that left 11 dead. Unfortunately, I have had to write many similar letters since, including last fall when we lost a faithful member of our diocesan family, Josh Kruger, who was shot to death in his apartment.

But beyond the homicides, the heartbreaking truth is that completed suicides by a gun have become an epidemic and steadily increased over the years. In the face of so much pain and loss, we cannot be silent.

Last year, I announced diocesan initiatives that will expand the vision of what Church can be and create a diocese that doesn’t simply welcome our communities but puts in the effort to make our diocese a home for all. One of those initiatives focuses on mental health.

We will develop a culture where awareness of, and sensitivity to, mental health issues is a part of fellowship and growth. All deacons will be trained in Mental Health First Aide; each deanery will have at least one support group; we will offer all ongoing workshops and trainings related to mental health and de-escalation; and work toward building free access to counseling.

Lent is less than a month away. Many of us will use this holy season to give up or replace some form of distraction. But if we are to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection we must first reflect on His death. If Jesus walked among us today and died proclaiming the Good News, would His death be a mere statistic?

The lives lost to gun violence should not be merely a number. This year, I ask that all churches begin Lent reflecting on how we “can seek change and approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Pray boldly and act boldly.

To help us focus as a community, I am calling us to gather in prayer on February 18. The Commission on Gun Violence has created prayers and collects for you to use in your church service. (See below.)

As your Bishop, I ask that you join with your siblings around the diocese to open your hearts and pray fervently that God would make us instruments of peace.

In the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, 

Bishop Signature Updated 2021

The Rt. Reverend Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez

XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania

Prayers of Intercession for February 18, 2024

Holy One of blessing, in our pain and anger, we come before you. With our grief and despair, we lean on you.

We cry out to you.

Holy One of love, we lament the pain and suffering inflicted on victims of gun violence. We repent of the inaction that supports injustice.

We cry out to you.


Holy One of wisdom, lead our elected officials to exercise their duty. Move our leaders to responsible, compassionate action.

We cry out to you.


Holy One of healing, lead us to the love which casts out fear. Lead us to care for those who are strangers and those who are friends.

We cry out to you.


Holy One of peace, have mercy on our grief-sick souls. Guide us on the path to justice and peace.

We cry out to you.


Holy One of courage, transform the systems which lead to violence. May we not lose hope when darkness closes in.

Strengthen us with your love and justice.


Holy One of patience, encourage our spirits with a vision of peace. May we remember the grace of your presence.

Strengthen us with your love and justice.


Holy One of enlightenment, sustain us in the light of your holiness. May we recognize the holiness ibn one another.

Strengthen us with you love and justice.


Holy One of strength, look upon our fragile hearts and make us whole. May we speak words of truth and power.

Strengthen us with you love and justice.


Holy One of life and light for All who seek you, strengthen us to build a community of safety. May we bring your light into the world.

Strengthen us with you love and justice.




God of Life and Light, You lead all who call upon you to a place of peace and wholeness. With one heart and one voice we call upon you to guide us in the way of love to end the epidemic of violence, death, and despair. We remember those who have died by gun violence. Bless them and bless us in your Name. Amen


We stand to commit ourselves to journey together along the path toward justice and peace – in our hearts, in all our home, in our towns and cities. We stand for a future built on justice and peace, in which the sound of gunfire is stilled and the laughter of children fills the air. Amen