Uniting For Life
Pro-Life Launches Adoption Ministry
National Pro-Life Religious
Council Pro-Active in Partial-Birth Abortion Debate
Pro-Life Maintains Majority
in House and Gains Seats in Senate Despite Clinton Victory
Two Couples Blessed by Choosing
Life Despite Fetal Disabilities
Lutherans for Life Grows and Changes
As Approaches 20th Year
Sanctuary: A New Effort Within
United Methodist Who Was Alabama
Judge Quit Bench to Work Against Partial-Birth Abortion
National Pro-Life Religious
Council Hosts March For Life Prayer Service
Sanctity of Life Sunday
The Right Choice
NOEL Moves to
Pro-Life Launches Adoption Ministry
By Terry Schlossberg, President
Many churches carry bulletin inserts each year
highlighting the millions of abortions that have been a scandal to both church
and society for over a generation in our country. This year Presbyterians
Pro-Life (PPL) sent a series of bulletin inserts for the month of November
(National Adoption Month) to over 200 churches in the Presbyterian Church (USA)
highlighting the blessing of adoption. The inserts point to adoption both as a
godly way to build families and as a life-giving alternative to abortion.
PPL has been raising adoption to a position of prominence in their ministry,
exploring ways to get beyond merely paying lip-service to adoption. They want to
find ways to resolve the obstacles that keep pregnant women from planning for
adoption, and that keep couples from offering family to waiting children. A year
ago, the organization brought a devoted Christian and adoption expert onto their
staff. Mrs. June Ring quickly added a wealth of materials to PPL's resources,
beginning with a booklet setting forth the biblical underpinnings for adoption,
called "Partakers of the Grace."
The emphasis of PPL's work in adoption is to equip local churches to become
actively involved in welcoming children and solving the human problems
associated with problem pregnancies and single teenage childbearing. Thousands
of special-needs children grow up in foster care and never find their way into
stable adoptive families. Believing that churches can change the future for
needy children, born and unborn, PPL is providing materials, workshops and
consulting help. The materials and ministry model is adaptable to any interested
For further information, or for a complimentary set of the bulletin inserts
on adoption suitable for use year-round, call Mrs. June Ring (Hudson, OH) at
(216) 342-4460, or the PPL office (P.O. Box 11130, Burke, VA 22009) at (703)
National Pro-Life Religious Council Pro-Active in
Partial-Birth Abortion Debate
By Rev. Ben Sheldon, Executive Director
Nothing has galvanized the pro-life forces in recent years more than the
debate over the dreadful abortion procedure known as partial-birth abortion.
When the fact that this particularly horrible and brutal method was actually
being used became public knowledge, efforts to ban it were mounted by many
groups, including the National Right to Life Committee and the National Pro-Life
Religious Council. When legislation to prohibit PBA passed both houses of
Congress, all of us breathed a sigh of relief, but those sighs of relief were
turned to incredulity and total shock when President Clinton vetoed the bill.
The NPRC went right to work and on May 17, 1996 sent a strong letter urging
Congress to override the President's veto. It went to every member of both the
House and the Senate. The letter contained the signatures of 51 well-known
leaders from many churches, Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic. Especially
notable was the fact that eight Orthodox bishops were among the signatories, as
well as several seminary professors. The names of Southern Baptists, United
Methodists, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ and Reformed Church in
America leaders, Episcopalians, and Lutherans were right alongside the Orthodox
and Roman Catholic signers. The letter dramatically demonstrated the cooperative
spirit of the NPRC, and was by far the largest cooperative effort to date that
your Council has undertaken. We do not doubt that it was a significant factor in
the House of Representatives' successful override vote.
After the House override vote, the NPRC issued a statement that went out to
hundreds of press outlets across the nation, commending the Representatives for
their action and once again calling on the Senate to follow suit. Finally, when
the final vote in the U.S. Senate was pending, many communications from NPRC
were sent, especially to those Senators whose previous records showed that they
might not vote for the override, and it is gratifying that those efforts
resulted in three significant vote changes. Even though the Senate failed to
override, and the horrendous practice of partial-birth abortion still is legal,
we feel that the NPRC "got its feet wet" in its strenuous efforts to defeat it.
Notable was the presence in the Senate gallery on September 17 (the day of the
Senate override attempt vote) of several NPRC Board members praying for the
Since the struggle is still in progress and the outcome is still not settled,
the National Pro-Life Religious Council pledges its effort and its energies to
continue the fight for the sake of the unborn babies, not only by banning
partial-birth abortions but by eventually making abortion so repugnant to the
people of this nation that they will clamor for its elimination. We invite the
support and cooperation of members of all denominations in this Herculean task
once again of making the mother's womb a safe place for babies.
Majority in House and Gains Seats in Senate Despite Clinton Victory
Washington, DC (Nov. 5) The pro-life movement snatched victory from the jaws
of defeat in the general election by maintaining a majority in the U.S. House
and increasing the pro-life numbers in the Senate.
The victories came in the face of an all out effort by pro-abortion groups to
recapture Congress. In many areas, abortion was one of the top issues in Senate
and House races. When the dust had settled, the pro-life movement had gained
approximately two seats in the Senate on the core issue of legal abortion, and
lost only six in the House on the same core issue. Votes on specific
abortion-related issues may fluctuate.
While the Clinton Administration is expected to aggressively pursue a
pro-abortion agenda, the pro-life base in Congress is encouraging. Three new
pro-life Democrats were elected. In three House races, pro-life Republicans
replaced pro-abortion Republicans. A number of pro-abortion Democrats were
replaced with pro-life Republicans. In the Senate races, three pro-life
Republicans replaced three pro-abortion Republicans. And in President Clinton's
home state of Arkansas, pro-life Republican Tim Hutchinson will take the seat of
pro-abortion Democratic senator, David Pryor.
The House is somewhat less pro-life than the House elected in 1994, but it is
more pro-life than the House elected at the time of President Clinton's first
win in 1992.
The pro-life movement held its own under incredible pressure. We've shown
once again that protecting the right to life is a cause too strong to be
affected by the ups and downs of politics. Pro-lifers will be here for life.
Two Couples Blessed By Choosing Life Despite Fetal
One rationalization used to defend partial-birth abortions is that some
unborn children, whom the procedure is used to kill, are severely disabled and
might not live long anyway. An example given was that of a pre-born child with
organs on the outside of the body.
Rev. Howard Edington, senior minister of the First Presbyterian Church in
Orlando, Florida, was stunned when he heard this because in his congregation a
young couple, Whitney and Bruce Goin, had faced this circumstance but chose life
for their child who is now a healthy one-year old boy named Andrew. When Whitney
was five months pregnant, she was shown the ultra sound of her child with his
organs outside his body, told there was a chance he would be stillborn, if born
alive he would require numerous surgeries with great stress on his lungs, and
that partial-birth abortion was an option. But Whitney and Bruce decided to
leave it in the Lord's hands whether the child's life was long or short. And so
they brought their baby into the world.
Andrew fought hard for life, and with the help of dedicated and gifted
doctors, the love and faith of his parents, and the prayers of their
congregation, he pulled through the long slow process of placing the organs
inside his body. Whitney shared that they learned a great deal, experienced much
love and were moved by Andrew's strong desire for life.
Last April, Rev. Edington had the joy of baptizing the bright, beautiful,
happy Andrew into the Christian faith. Rev Edington said he had to fight back
the emotion overwhelming him when he thought of the struggle Whitney and Bruce
went through for this child, their magnificent faith, and the happiness they now
In the same congregation, another couple, Eugenia and Joe Sefcik, also dealt
with the difficult decision of birth for their daughter, Elizabeth, who had a
severe chromosomal abnormality known as Trisome 18. Doctors did not give Eugenia
and Joe much hope for a successful pregnancy. When informing them of their
options, the doctor mentioned that this was the only disability for which the
hospital did abortions.
The Sefciks, acting on their faith, decided to let the pregnancy take its
course. They received open support for their decision from the doctors and
nurses. Eugenia gave birth to Elizabeth last December. She took her home, they
fed her with an eyedropper and took her everywhere with them. Elizabeth had a
very short life of seven weeks, but she blessed the lives of her family and many
others in this time. Pastor Edington once again had the joy of baptizing the
child. Joe shared that others seemed amazed at the faith that enabled them to go
through this painful time without being distraught. He said Elizabeth's birth
and short life witnessed that this was not just a technical medical decision. It
made the issue of life decisions more real for others. Eugenia tells people, "If
I could replay the entire situation, I would do it again."
Both couples have since become interested in sharing with others the
blessings of choosing life. Eugenia has been able to counsel other parents
referred to her from Hospice or the geneticist at Arnold Palmer Hospital.
"People want to talk to someone who kept their child," she said.
Lutherans for Life Grows
and Changes As Approaches 20th Year
By Linda Bartlett, President of LFL
Lutherans For Life (LFL), during this past year, welcomed
a new executive director, Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb, and a new president, Linda
Bartlett, who opened the new LFL office in Nevada, Iowa. 1996 was a year of
expanding LFL's commitment to education and service.
Through a grassroots network of 14 state affiliates, 250 chapters, and 676
Life Ministry Coordinators, the biblical pro-life message is taken into
congregations, schools and communities. There were 11 state conventions held.
LFL chapters across the country sponsored rallies for teens and parents,
seminars for pastors, and pro-life workshops.
Two working models for outreach take pro-life education and put it into
action: Place of Refuge, a ministry of congregations to care for women and
pre-born children in crisis pregnancies; and Young Mom's Retreat, a weekend of
instruction for new mothers and their babies from pregnancy centers.
Healing Hearts, the post-abortion ministry of LFL, established a
toll-free hotline (1-888-21story) and conducted a second training seminar for
pastors and counselors. A third seminar is being planned for Florida and Iowa in
1997. This past fall, 20 men and women attended LFL's speaker's training
workshop. San Diego was the site of LFL's 14th annual convention the weekend of
In October, Dr. Lamb traveled with a team of pro-lifers to Romania. The trip,
organized by Global Partners, enabled this "team" to better understand the
opportunities which exist for Pro Vitae, the Romanian pro-life organization, and
to make recommendations for expanded education and outreach.
The foundation was laid this year for LFL's Campus Life Project. LFL has been
invited to bring life issues to the students on both Christian and secular
campuses through "coffee houses," dorm discussions, assemblies, classroom
lectures, and informal gatherings. LFL's goal is to help students contrast the
culture of death with the culture of life. Students will be challenged not only
to think, but to respond by way of personal involvement in "servant"
opportunities and on-going educational events.
Although LFL continues to reach pastors and lay people through publications
such as Living magazine, LifeDate, and In Touch, it expanded its educational
outreach in the past months by way of the internet and e-mail. News and updates
are sent regularly to e-mail addresses across the country. The LFL web site
offers resources and current information. LFL's new catalog offers brochures,
bulletin inserts, videos, pro-life curricula, and a new "pro-life catechism."
Discovering Real Love, (teen education) and Living with Dying, (resource on
end-of-life issues), are also available.
Web site: http://www.goshen.net/lfl/
National Office: 1229 South G Ave. Bldg B Suite 100
Nevada, IA 50201-2717
Tel: (515) 382-2077 Fax: (515) 382-3020
Sanctuary: A New Effort
By Rev. John B. Brown
A small group of churches in southeastern Pennsylvania, centered in the
community of Boyertown, has begun a "sheltering church" experiment which they
have named Sanctuary. This effort has had the support and encouragement of
United Friends for Life (UFL).
Several years ago, Steven Wissler, a Christian layman from Pennsylvania, who
represented the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality (TUMAS)
on the National Pro-Life Religious Council, realized that Christian churches
could become sheltering churches for women with crisis pregnancies. There remain
many women with crisis pregnancies who have no idea of the existence of the
thousands of crisis pregnancy centers across the country.
The Abortion Dialogue Group, convened by Rev. Donald Moyer at the Penn
Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ, and involving people with
varying views on the subject of abortion, agreed that a pregnant woman who
chooses to give birth should be given support. Members from UFL suggested the
sheltering church idea, which immediately took hold. Discussion and publicity
meetings for churches followed.
Ten congregations, Catholic, evangelical and mainline, including two United
Church of Christ congregations, eventually responded. Under the able leadership
of Rev. Moyer, and a committed group of volunteers, these congregations formed a
Sanctuary coalition. Each member congregation is asked to provide at least one
service, such as baby clothing, food, sheltering homes, counseling, or financial
A resource manual of all the pro-life resources in the area, including five
CPCs, is provided to leaders in each church. Phone training for contact persons
in each congregation was done, and signs with a beautiful Sanctuary logo are
going up at churches all around the Boyertown area.
The Sanctuary community can provide spiritual resources such as worship
services, youth groups, and Bible studies to supplement the work of CPCs. It
encourages congregations who are pro-life but inactive to deepen their
commitment. It also receives support from some who consider themselves
UFL will be presenting the Sanctuary story at the UCC 1997 General Synod in
United Methodist Who Was
Alabama Judge Quit Bench To Work Against Partial-Birth Abortion
Montgomery, AL (Sept. 6) When Alabama circuit court Judge H. Randall Thomas
heard about President Clinton's veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, he
began a journey of discovery and awakening that led him to resign from the bench
in order to speak out against the partial-birth abortion procedure. Judge
Thomas, 51, had four years remaining in the term to which he was elected in
"There is a blindness on this issue. When I heard about the veto, I didn't
know what a partial-birth abortion was. I asked doctors, lawyers, intelligent
people--nobody knew." Finally an Ob-Gyn that he knew said she would find out for
him. When she described the procedure, Judge Thomas said, "I was appalled. It
was like scales slipped off....The procedure is so cruel. It is such an
In talking with black pastors one-on-one, explaining what the partial-birth
abortion procedure is, the judge testified that the pastors turned away from a
"pro-choice" position to a pro-life position. He said that when the message is
"wrapped in love, with the Spirit of God in it, it will move the hearts of
The former judge also likes to share the story of his challenge to a fellow
judge about the moral dilemma a judge faces on the abortion issue. The other
judge said the resolution of the conflict was simply to follow the law. When
Judge Thomas evoked the images of law during the slave era in the U.S. and
during the Nazi era in Germany, the judge blanched, but later came back with the
bible quote, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's." But since Jesus said
this in reference to the image on a Roman coin, Thomas countered with the
question, "In whose image is this baby?" The answer, of course, is "in the image
The judge, retired since August 1, is now prayerfully seeking the direction
the Lord is leading him in. He has been a state circuit court judge for 21
years. He is a member of St. James Methodist Church but is also involved with
other denominations and attends an ecumenical fellowship group called John 17.
He is married with two children.
Religious Council Hosts March for Life Prayer Service
The National Pro-Life Religious Council is holding its annual pre-March
Prayer Service Tuesday, January 21, 1997 at 7:00 p.m. at the Fourth Presbyterian
Church, 5500 River Road, Bethesda, Md. This year, Bishop William Frey of the
Episcopal Church, and Dr. Jean Garton of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod will
be the speakers.
All are encouraged to attend this service to pray for an end to abortion,
assisted suicide, and euthanasia in our country. It is a great opportunity for
Christians of all denominations to join together in prayer as a sign of unity on
A morning prayer service, sponsored by the Task Force of United Methodists on
Abortion and Sexuality (TUMAS), will take place at the Simpson Memorial Chapel
of the Methodist Building, 100 Maryland Ave., (next to the Supreme Court), at
9:30 a.m., Wednesday, January 22.
Sanctity of Life
Materials to distribute on Sanctity of Life Sunday, including brochures,
bulletin inserts, posters, Sunday school lesson, and suggested sermons are
available from the following:
Christian Life Commission
901 Commerce St., Suite 550
Nashville TN 37203-3696
(615) 244-2495, Fax: (615) 242-0065
Lutherans for Life
1229 South G Ave
Nevada, IA 50201
(515) 382-2077, Fax: (515) 382-3020
The Right Choice
Edited by Paul T. Stallsworth
Published by Abingdon Press
A collection of pro-life sermons from:
Elizabeth Achtemeier, John Cardinal O'Connor, Connie Roland Alt, Frank A.
Pavone, John B. Brown, Terry Schlossberg, Paul M. Clark, Benjamin E. Sheldon,
Edward Fehskens, Paul T. Stallsworth, Michael J. Gorman, Mother Teresa of
Calcutta, Richard John Neuhaus, Charles E. Whited, Jr.
"This collection of sermons is an effort, sponsored by NPRC, to express the
Christian understanding of the dignity of human life. It makes clear that the
Christian churches here represented are seeking to inform and form their people
in the context of worship, according to the revelation offered to the world
though the Word of God. Where God has spoken, we must speak, as best we can."
(from Forward by Rev. John B. Brown)
NOEL Moves to
(In March 2007, NOEL changed its name to Anglicans for Life)
The National Organization of Episcopalians for Life have now
moved to Pennsylvania and have appointed a new executive director, Mrs. Dana
The new address is: 405 Frederick Avenue, Sewickley, PA 15143. Tel: (412)
749-0455; Fax: (412) 741-7360.