A few years ago we at Toledo Mennonite Church began putting energy behind initiatives to create better tools and follow Jesus in the way of peace. We partnered with RAW Tools Inc. for the first time in October of 2016 to host the first guns-to-gardens demonstration in Toledo. At the event, blacksmiths forged a gun into garden tools through the old-school technology of blacksmithing. The mission of RAW Tools is not only to transform guns, but to transform hearts and minds as well.
This vision caught on. We have since done three more guns-to-gardens demonstrations with diverse partnerships such as the Hindu Temple of Toledo, Creative Peaceful Resistance, The Junction Coalition, and Mom’s Demand Action.
This summer, a board was created to launch a Toledo chapter of RAW Tools. Pastor Joel serves as the chair of that board. This chapter is the first regional chapter that RAW Tool has opened. By establishing a formal relationship with RAW Tools, we tap into their national network while being able to respond to local opportunities.
This summer, we are launching a class for youth and young adults to learn the skill of blacksmithing by learning how to turn guns into garden tools. Along the way, participants will learn basic skills and concepts for non-violence and conflict resolution. The dates for the class are July 14, 21, 28, and August 4 and 11 from 1:00-4:00.