October 2002 - Volume 1, Issue 8
VINE AND BRANCHES
The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries
Rachel's Vineyard Ministries holds weekend retreats for emotional and
spiritual healing after abortion.
It is a division of American Life League
Publisher: Rachel's Vineyard Ministries
Editor: Leslie Graves
Associate Editor: Catherine McHugh
Comments and questions:
- I Sing in the Choir
- "Loaves and Fishes" for
retreat team formation
- Article about Rachel's
Vineyard in "The Indianapolis Star Tribune"
- Rachel's Vineyard webpage
- Controversy surrounds
Tim McGraw's "Red Ragtop"
- Your letters do matter: feedback
- Theresa Burke scheduled in online
- Article about post-abortion trauma in
- Dates, locations of
I SING IN THE CHOIR
Martha Shuping, MD, is a psychiatrist in private practice
in North Carolina. She has been facilitating the Rachel's Vineyard retreat
weekends there since 1998. Dr. Shuping is also the creator of the Rachel Network
Evening of Prayer for Post-Abortion Healing and conducts clinical trainings in
post-abortion trauma and healing around the country, often in conjunction with
helping a local team host their first Rachel's Vineyard weekend.
Dr. Shuping is collecting stories from men and women who
before or after their abortion decision were actively involved in church. Her
goal is to create a booklet, tentatively called "I Sing in the Choir", to share
with clergy or churchmembers who are unaware that it is highly likely that
people in their congregation are suffering the emotional and spiritual aftermath
of abortion. Stories will be anonymous and will only be published with the
permission of the person involved. Drachel Network Evening of Prayer for
Post-Abortion Healing, I was speaking in a church about post-abortion issues.
The parish had let me talk to the moms while the kids were in CCD classes, and
it was packed. Afterward, one mom came up and said she needed to talk to me
privately, that she had had an abortion.
Turns out, she was a member of a neighboring parish and
just come over to this parish for my talk. She was a mom of half a dozen kids,
and active in everything at her parish... a pro-life leader, committee member...
she was a very active parish leader. But she had had an abortion at age 17 after
having been raped at a poorly supervised teenage party. And, her CCD teacher had
recommended the abortion. Said God would understand. So she had the abortion on
the advice of her CCD teacher, without telling her mom.
At the point at which she talked to me, she had all the
signs of clinical depression. She was crying, couldn't get up in the morning,
very depressed, having difficulty functioning, no energy. She was very
preoccupied with thoughts aboutthe baby she had lost, and consumed by guilt. She
had been to confession... gazillions of times... to priest after priest... but
she didn't "feel" forgiven.. and she felt like she couldn't keep going on...
just exhausted from trying to stuff this inside.
Post-abortive women are not off living on some other
planet, they are right here with us at Mass every week. Or every day.
The good news, of course, is that programs like the
Rachel's Vineyard retreat, and the Rachel Network Evening of Prayer for
Post-Abortion Healing, are making a difference. Women and men affected by
abortion are being healed. But beforehealing can take place, the Church needs to
recognize this hidden grief and help to provide the opportunities for healing.
We hope this collection of stories will help raise awareness."
"LOAVES AND FISHES"
MEDITATION FOR RETREAT TEAM FORMATION
Ann Depner of the Pittsburgh Rachel's Vineyard team has
created a moving and beautiful Living Scripture exercise for retreat team
formation based on the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes in Matthew 14:13-21.
Whether you are on a Rachel's Vineyard team or volunteer
in some other ministry position that involves teamwork, you will really enjoy
this Living Scripture! Ann will send it to you as a Word file attachment if you
email her at adepne@ccpghEorg.
"AFTER ABORTION, WOMEN
HIDE THEIR HIDDEN PAIN"
Jane Lichtenberg, editorial page editor of the
Indianapolis Star Tribune, published an op-ed column with that headline in the
Friday, October 4 edition of the Indianapolis Star-Tribune. Here is a short
"Ignoring all evidence to the contrary, most abortion
counselors will tell women that psychological reactions to abortion are rare or
even non-existent," explains Dr. Theresa Burke, a psychotherapist and founder of
Rachel's Vineyard, a post-abortion training and healing ministry funded by the
American Life League. She directs the program from her King of Prussia, Pa.,
"It's all too easy to imagine that abortion is a 'quick
fix' that will . . . allow a woman's life to go back and be the same as it was
before," Burke points out in "Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion,"
co-authored by David C
2E Reardon (Acorn Press). But once a woman is pregnant,
the choice is not simply between having a baby or not having a baby. It's
between having a baby and having the experience of an abortion. "Both are
Here is a link to the full article:
RACHEL'S VINEYARD WEBPAGE
Thanks to David Brandao, DFC, who edits "Celebrate Life"
for American Life League, Rachel's Vineyard has a revamped and redesigned
webpage, which you can access here: http:/www.rachelsvineyard.org . David can be
reached with commentsat email@example.com.
One feature that has been added to the webpage to make it
more user-friendly is a list of retreat team contacts by state, in addition to
the list of retreat team contacts by when retreats are scheduled. Is your
retreat listed? If not, please send an email to Kevin Burke at
OVER TIM MCGRAW'S NEW SINGLE
By Catherine McHugh, Associate Editor
The bum with diamonds in his pocket, Tim McGraw, has found
his new hit single, "Red Ragtop", in the middle of a brouhaha with country music
stations around the country, especially those in southern states.
His new song is only playing on radio stations and won't
be released until his album "Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors" is released
in November. The song's lyrics deal with an abortion and the emotional fallout
McGraw's manager Scott Simon was quoted in Billboard.com
saying, "Tim, when he heard the song, recognized it was a real song about real
issues and things people have to deal with. He views it as truly a slice of
Program directors around the country though have been
hesitant to play it. Some, like Kevin O'Neal, program director of Nashville's
WSM-FM pulled the song after some listeners complained, mainly mothers who were
worried they would have to talk aboutit with their daughters. He has since put
it back on the air without any more complaints.
Ron Brooks, operations manager of WCOS Columbia, SC, flat
out refuses to play the song because he believes it would alienate 40% of his
audience. He claims it's not a political correctness issue. He just doesn't
think it would be a good business decision.
And then there's Cory Calhoun from Louisville who's
playing it reluctantly but just "wishes it would go away". (Does that sound
Songs about abortion are not often heard or played in
mainstream music. They bring up feelings that are taboo in our society. Red
Ragtop is about three things: pain, loss and regret. According to Theresa Burke,
PhD, "We hope and believe that songs like Red Ragtop will make it easier for
those who are struggling with the emotional aftermath of abortion to seek
healing," Burke said. "And we hope that controversy over this song will be an
occasion for our society to allow people to express and heal their feelings over
past abortions, instead of to suppress and reject the tender feelings that
people may be experiencing."
On an internet PASS support board, a post about Red Ragtop
is still getting hits on it from post-abortive women six weeks after the initial
post. Most posts talk about how the song has touched them and validated what
they had been feeling: pain, loss & regret. A big slice of life.
So what does this all mean for Rachel's Vineyard? A
reporter from the Cleveland Plain Dealer was looking into the controversy over
the song because the songwriter, Jason White, hails from Cleveland. When
researching it on the internet, the archived Rachel's Vineyard September
newsletter kept coming up since the lyrics were posted in that issue. The
reporter contacted Leslie Graves, RV media director, to interview her about
Rachel's Vineyard, how we viewed the song and comment on why people might
beupset over the song.
Another outreach suggestion for those retreat teams in
areas where the song is being played despite the controversy or is not being
played because of the controversy to contact their local radio or news stations.
Let them know if you have a retreat coming up, and suggest playing a PSA about
your retreat whenever they play the song.
WORDS DO MATTER
If you've ever sent a note to a television show
encouraging them to do a show about post-abortion trauma, you may have thought,
" wonder if this'll even get read." Whether your note was read by one person or
whether it starts a chain that eventually leads to just the show you envision,
who you are and what you say does matter.
Here's a note that one woman received from a producer at
the Donahue show:
Thank you for taking the time to write. And thank you for
sharing your story, you have a wonderful spirit. I will pass your suggestions
Again, thank you for your letter and thank you for
Maureen and the "Donahue" Staff
THERESA BURKE SCHEDULED IN ONLINE
Theresa will be the special guest at two online chat
appearances hosted by Christian Women Today.
On Wednesday, October 16 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, the topic
of Theresa's chat is "Healing Life's Hurts". To participate, go to
about five minutes before the chat is scheduled to make sure that you can get
in. There is often a waiting list. A free, simple and anonymous registration
process is required. Chat veterans recommend that you go to the chat site and
complete the registration steps well in advance so that you don't have to cope
with any possible glitches when the chat is about to start.
The same chat topic will be the topic of another chat on
Monday, November 4 at 7:00 p.m.
Another page on the internet that regularly holds online
chats about post-abortion healing is Kala's Group. See their webpage at:
ARTICLE ABOUT POST-ABORTION TRAUMA IN
MAINE PRESS HERALD
An article about post-abortion trauma was published in the
Maine Press Herald on October 1. "Effects of Abortion: studies and experience
show the hazards" was written by Jeanne Bull, who coordinates the Rachel's
Vineyard retreat in Maineunder the auspices of Project Rachel and Catholic
A paragraph from the article reads: "A common remark we
hear is how abortion was presented as a solution with little consideration of
the negative impact it could have on their lives. One woman wrote to us, "I was
totally unprepared for what I went through after the abortion." Another wrote,
after a retreat with us, "Everyone felt each other's pain. What a huge
eye-opener to know we are not alone."
The full article is available at this link:
DATES, LOCATIONS OF
For contact information for each retreat, go to
Or call our national hotline at 1 877 HOPE 4 ME.
- October 18-20 - Portland, Maine
- October 18-20 - Youngstown, Ohio
- October 18-20 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- October 18-20 - Temple, Texas
- October 25-27 - Kelowna, British Columbia
- October 25-27 - Denver, Colorado
- October 25-27 - Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
- October 25-27 - Oregon, Illinois
- October 25-27 - Asheville, North Carolina
- October 25-27 - Providence, Rhode Island
- October 25-27 - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- November 1-3 - Mesa, Arizona
- November 1-3 - Clark Summit/Scranton, Pennsylvania
- November 8-10 - Wilmington, Delaware
- November 8-10 - Rome City, Indiana
- November 8-10 - Linden, New Jersey
- November 8-10 - Camden, New Jersey
- November 8-10 - Smithfield, North Carolina
- November 8-10 - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- November 8-10 - Medford, Oregon
- November 8-10 - Dallas, Texas
- November 8-10 - Madison, Wisconsin
- November 15-17 - Juneau, Alaska
- November 15-17 - St. Petersburg, Florida
- November 15-17 - Hammond, Indiana
- November 15-17 - Rochester, New York
- November 15-17 - Rapid City, South Dakota
- November 15-17 - Knoxville, Tennessee
- November 15-17 - Seattle, Washington
- November 22-24 - Romeoville, Illinois
- November 22-24 - Las Vegas, Nevada
- November 22-24 - London, Ontario
- November 22-24 - Columbia/Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
STILL TIME TO REGISTER
The Sav ~ A ~ Life 20th annual Affiliate
Conference of crisis pregnancy centers is November 7-9, 2002 at the Embassy
Suites in Birmingham, Alabama. Theresa Burke, Ph.D. will be presenting several
workshops for the conference which include the following topics:
Rachel' s Vineyard
Looking for new resources for your post abortion ministry?
Rachel's Vineyard is a unique combination of psychological and spiritual
techniques, which provide a powerful model for assisting groups to find closure
and spiritual healing after abortion. This workshop will present a descriptive
overview of the Rachel's Vineyard Retreat including content and process. An
in-depth explanation will be offered for the Living Scripture technique, the
specific purpose of each exercise, and psychological and spiritual constructs as
catharsis for memory and emotion. We will also examine the retreat structure as
a means to provide an opportunity for dialogue of the soul and opening traumatic
wounds to the grace of God. We will explore how the retreat functions as a
journey through the paschal mystery for the suffering body of Christ.
Fact or Fiction: An in depth look at Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder Part I
Part I: We have heard that Post Abortion Syndrome is a
variation of post traumatic stress disorder. In this workshop, you will receive
in depth training on what post traumatic stress disorder actually is. This
two-part seminar will present a trauma-sensitive perspective on how women cope
with pregnancy loss after induced abortion. Symptoms of PTSD as they relate to
abortion will be described. An examination of how trauma may impact memory will
be explored including amnesia, hypermnesia and dissociation. Examples of
avoidance, preoccupation, sleep disturbances, panic and anxiety, obsessive
compulsive rituals, and numbing behaviors will be included.
Finding Freedom from Traumatic Re-enactment Part II
Part II: One of the biggest struggles of post aborted
women is re-living their experience, as well as consequential behaviors of that
experience. Since repetition is one of the greatest indicators of trauma, a
knowledge of traumatic reenactment will be a valuable tool for helping
understand behaviors, which recreate aspects of the original trauma such as
powerlessness, destruction, fear, and shame. Examples of posttraumatic
reenactment will be given within the framework of eating disorders, multiple
abortions, anxiety over fertility and maternal identity and sexuality. Until the
trauma is fully acknowledged and worked through in an intensive way, individuals
will continue to re-create the conflict again and again. This can be
particularly painful for those who have accepted Christ, but continue in
compulsive self-destructive and shaming behaviors rooted in trauma. Understand
how the trauma can be grounded in safety so that an individual can reconnect,
integrate, and mourn the traumatic event so that it can be released and healed.
The theme for this year's Sav-A-Life conference is "Follow
As You Lead." Scripture shows us that Jesus was committed to leadership. He
poured his life into eleven men who would in turn lead others, and reach the
world with the Gospel. Other workshops include: How to start a medical clinic;
Medical Basics for the Counseling Room; Fatherlessness: It Affects Us All;
Reaching The Hispanic Client; Teen Culture and Abstinence Education; Creative
Fundraising Techniques; How to motivate your Board; Grantwriting; How to adapt
your curriculum to meet the needs of your center; and others.
Speakers include Carol Everett, Anne Pierson, Anne Boyd,
Vicki Botsford, Dr. Nate Rose, Kirk Walden, Gerry Wallace, Debbie Calhoun, Mike
Reid and many others.
For information regarding this conference contact
Sav-A-Life, Inc at (205) 979-0302. You can also e-mail them at
Questions or comments about Vine & Branches: The Rachel's
Vineyard Newsletter may be directed to the Editor, Leslie Graves, at
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Rachel's Vineyard is a division of American Life League