On March 20, the RAWtools PeaceMaker Tour, an effort to raise awareness and encourage dialogue around the issue of gun violence, presented a live demonstration at the State College Presbyterian Church, 132 West Beaver Avenue. The hour-long event began at 6 p.m., and featured a blacksmith transforming a gun into a garden implement outside the church, while inside the sanctuary—as the blacksmith demonstration was video streamed live—individuals who have been affected by gun violence shared their experiences.
Author and activist Shane Claiborne was the keynote speaker. Claiborne’s peacemaking adventures have taken him to many troubled areas around the world, including Rwanda, the West Bank, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Calcutta, where he worked with Mother Teresa.
Also speaking was Terri Roberts, mother of Charles Carl Roberts, the shooter in the 2006 Nickel Mines Amish school shootings. Terri Roberts, a mother of four sons, shared her perspectives on the tragedy that propelled her into the public’s eye and how she has found strength and healing through God’s grace.
“By event’s end,” according to the RAWtools Facebook page, “a physical representation of God’s prophecy of ‘beating your swords into plowshares’ from Isaiah and Micah is created in actuality. People experience opportunities for healing, purpose, and a reinvigoration of imagination as a new reality is encountered in this physical representation of ‘forging peace.’”
A time of refreshments and fellowship followed the presentation.
Event organizers also included an outdoor demonstration of the gun to garden tool transformation on the morning of March 20th at State College Presbyterian.
The RAWtools event is sponsored by Abba Java Coffee House, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. (MCC U.S.), University Baptist & Brethren Church, University Mennonite Church, Westminster Presbyterian Fellowship, and 3rd Way Collective.
Learn more about RAWtools and the PeaceMaker tour at https://www.facebook.com/events/851931974870476/