Activists Shane Claiborne and Mike Martin, co-authors of Beating Guns, Will Turn Guns into Garden Tools at an Englewood Church on November 3

Chicago, October 26, 2018 — Christian activists Shane Claiborne and Mike Martin will bring their anti-gun violence campaign to a south side Chicago neighborhood that has been one of the hardest hit. Claiborne and Martin will visit Canaan Community Church in Englewood on Saturday, November 3, to enact the biblical call to “beat swords into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4). Armed with a forge, anvil, and an assortment of hammers and tools, Claiborne and Martin will melt down guns and turn them into garden tools. The event is in partnership with Englewood Rising community organization.

Claiborne and Martin are coauthors of the forthcoming book, Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence (Brazos Press, March 2019), a faithful response to America’s gun violence crisis. They have launched the Disarming Network to help people connect with safe spaces to disable guns according to Federal ATF guidelines. Next spring they will take the forge on the road with the Beating Guns Tour, a 90-minute event that will feature music, art, and stories of people impacted by gun violence, culminating with an invitation for the audience to take the hammer and transform a gun into garden tools. They’ll visit over 20 cities around the country during the month of March, which is also the pre-Easter season of Lent, when many Christians reflect on the sanctity and gift of life.

Claiborne and Martin will be in Chicago to attend the Christian Community Development Association annual conference at McCormick on November 1-3. November 3 has been designated “Go and See Day” with the event at Canaan Community Church one of several opportunities for conference attendees to explore the diverse neighborhoods and ministries of Chicago. The events, which run 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., are open to registered CCDA attendees.

Claiborne is a bestselling author and noted activist whose book The Irresistible Revolution sold more than 300,000 copies. Martin is a Mennonite pastor turned blacksmith and founder of RAWtools, a nonprofit organization that repurposes guns into hand tools. In Beating Guns, they will explore the political, moral, and spiritual dimensions of the crisis in a country where “God and guns” have too often been inseparable. The book will weave together alarming statistics—gun violence claims over 38,000 lives each year in the U.S.—and heart-wrenching stories of devastated lives and healing through restorative justice. Readers will meet grandmothers, police officers, veterans, and pastors who have taken up hammers and joined the holy work of beating guns into plows and turning a world from violence towards life. Beating Guns will feature full-color photographs of guns turned into tools and musical instruments.

Englewood Rising is a collaborative, community-led marketing campaign working to create positive change in the Greater Englewood Neighborhood while highlighting the area’s rich history and culture. For over a decade, they have worked with the Englewood Quality of Life Plan to redefine the narrative of the community, focusing on the many strengths that often go unnoticed by those outside of the area. A plow will be presented to Micheál Newman-Brooks, the Director of Urban Agriculture for the City of Chicago, and a member of the Englewood community.

“We are not going to wait on politicians to turn death into life,” Claiborne and Martin say. “We cannot wait. The beautiful thing about the vision of the Biblical prophets is that it is the people themselves who start to transform their weapons. It is the people who pave the way to peace.”

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