Schentrup family urges convention to continue work against gun violence

By Mike Patterson
Posted Jul 7, 2018

Philip Schentrup stands with his family as he addresses the House of Bishops about gun violence. Photo: Mike Patterson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Philip and April Schentrup, Episcopalians whose daughter Carmen was one of 17 students and educators killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, appeared before the House of Bishops on July 7 to ask them to continue their work to end gun violence.

The House of Bishops stood in silence as the Schentrup family entered the conference hall at the 79th General Convention and approached the podium.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.[/perfectpullquote]

Standing at the microphone with his wife and family at his side, Schentrup described his daughter as “amazing, compassionate and energetic” who “gave her mom and dad a hug every evening.” She was a straight A student, he said, and a talented musician.

“All of Carmen’s dreams came to an end on Ash Wednesday,” he said. That’s when Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student, walked into the school building on Feb. 14, shot Carmen four times with an AR-15 style rifle, killed 16 others and wounded another 17.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting marked one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. In the first 21 weeks of 2018 alone, there have been a total of 23 school shootings in which individuals have been injured or killed. Nearly 40 have died in the shootings.

Schentrup told the bishops that “we’re confronting a sobering fact” in the campaign against gun violence. “We’re in a battle between fear and fact,” he said.

He said many advocacy groups have discovered the power of fear with messages to “be prepared because someone’s going to attack your children or destroy your Christian values” and where people are hated “who don’t look like us, act like us.”

He applauded the bishops’ statement against gun violence issued earlier this year, and thanked them for their support for his and other families and for hearing their plea to work for an end to gun violence.

After Schentrup spoke, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry stood and asked for a moment of silence before leading the bishops and visitors in reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Schentrup’s remarks came a day before a scheduled public witness event organized by Bishops United Against Gun Violence. The event is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. July 8 at Brush Square Park, across the street from the Austin Convention Center where General Convention is meeting.

The Schentrups will speak at the event, along with Abigail Zimmerman, a ninth-grader and Episcopalian from Waco, Texas, who co-led a school walkout in March in response to the Douglas High School massacre.

Bishops United Against Gun Violence is a group of more than 70 Episcopal bishops that is working to curtail gun violence in the United States. “We believe in a God of life in the face of death who calls our church to speak and act decisively against the unholy trinity of poverty, racism and violence,” according to its website.

Following the event, participants will be invited to walk together to the 10:30 a.m. General Convention Eucharist or to attend worship at local Episcopal churches.

— Mike Patterson is a San Antonio-based freelance writer and correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. He is a member of ENS General Convention reporting team and can be reached at


Comments (2)

  1. Deborah Matherne says:

    what say Bishops United Against Gun Violence against bombing?

  2. Charles Pierce says:

    Everyone is against gun violence but to end the gun violence you must have government do what the law and common sense dictates. Mr. Cruz was visited by School, County police officials and the Department of Children and Families of Florida at least 67 time, perhaps more. He at some point should have been recognized to the a potential threat to himself and the community and Baker Acted to make it very difficult to obtain a weapon. The Government officials using an Obama administration decision to not charge individuals with minor offensive to make the record look better and look what happened. Old saying that I very true today. “I am from the Government and I am here to Help you,” the problem is that most of the time the government does not help the are the problem. It is interesting that everyone believes the 1st amendment is absolute not many people do not believe that the 2d amendment is exactly the same idea as the 1st and the other 8 also.

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