VINE AND BRANCHES
The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
June 2003 - Volume 2, Number 6
Welcome to Rachel’s Vineyard - Retreats for Healing After Abortion.
Our national toll-free hotline is (877) HOPE-4-ME.
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:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you
hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and
I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with
all your heart. I will be found by you,"
declares the Lord, "and I will bring you back from captivity."
1. Fr. Blair Raum, RIP
2. Reflections on recent retreat experiences
3. Still time to register for June and July training events
4. Two new medical articles on emotions after abortion
5. A Greek Orthodox priest reviews "Forbidden Grief"
6. Upcoming retreats
FR. BLAIR RAUM, RIP
Fr. Blair Raum, a priest in the Archdiocese of Baltimore,
died of a very recently diagnosed cancer on Saturday, May 31.
Fr. Blair was the head of Project Rachel for the
Archdiocese of Baltimore. He also served on the board of the National Office of
Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing. Fr. Blair started offering the
Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in Baltimore in1998. He helped train retreat teams in
other areas of the country and was a great support to many teams.
Tami Koerber, Project Rachel’s Baltimore director, told
the Baltimore Sun: "He was about changing hearts. He was a man of great
compassion and sensitivity who knew how to listen. He knew how to carry a
woman’s heart as she worked through the process of reconciling with her child,
with God and herself."
Fr. Blair’s tireless efforts as a counselor and a priest
were an inspiration and a guiding light to many.
We extend our very heartfelt condolences to everyone whose
life was touched by Fr. Blair.
May his eternal soul rest in peace.
"You show me the path of life. In your presence there is
fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore." ~Psalm 16:11
REFLECTIONS ON RECENT RETREAT
We’d like to share some comments from Rachel’s Vineyard
retreat participants who attended retreats earlier this year.
Thank you to all who took a moment to share about their
"The retreat was wonderful! Thoughtfully planned and
lovingly carried out. I liked the size of the group and the ratio of
facilitators to participants. A lot was packed into those two days and the
overall effect was that I was deeply changed by the experience."
"When I arrived at the retreat house, I was extremely
apprehensive since I was pregnant with my second child. I thought of a thousand
reasons to turn my car around as I drove away from my loving husband and
15-month old daughter but I knew I needed to feel God’s forgiveness to be a
successful mother and wife. I was pleasantly surprised when greeted by a
compassionate staff. There was an overwhelming sense of peace and unconditional
love as I entered the house. Though there were many tears shed, this retreat
helped me grieve the loss of my two children and gain confidence to raise my
unborn child and 15-month toddler. The Rachel’s Vineyard staff is clearly doing
God’s work on earth. I look forward to helping this ministry grow and hope to
show others how to heal from abortion."
"The retreat was incredibly helpful to me."
"I was able to accept God’s forgiveness."
"What a wonderful experience for participants and our
team. We have been planning our retreat since summer of 2002 here in New Orleans
and our retreat went wonderfully. The healing that took place was the blessing
from our retreat."
"Awesome, spirit-filled, held in a holy, safe place."
"It was the most wonderful experience to have finally
found some peace with my past abortion. Very well organized, loving team
members. I am not a person who finds it easy to speak in front of others to
begin with, but I did it and it feels great."
"I attended an RV retreat in August of 2002 for healing.
The retreat went so well for me that I decided to become a team member. The
greatest obstacle I had to overcome was my nervousness. I asked the Holy Spirit
to strip me of my prideful nerves and just do as He saw fit. And that was that.
The retreat was filled with the unconditional love and mercy of God. The Holy
Spirit was tangibly present on the faces of the retreatants. I have no doubt in
my mind that God really likes this ministry. RV is about deep suffering and
horrifying pain and these women, like Christ Himself, were resurrected to new
hope and glory. His love and forgiveness resonated through all who participated
in the retreat."
"A gift from God, given to us through each one present."
"Thank you for all you did before, during and after the
retreat to make it such a powerful healing experience."
STILL TIME TO REGISTER FOR JUNE AND
JULY TRAINING EVENTS
From Tuesday evening, June 24, through Thursday, June 26,
Rachel’s Vineyard is hosting a Servant’s Retreat in Oklahoma City. This retreat
is for anyone who serves within post-abortion ministry. This retreat will focus
on inspiration and renewal.
On Friday morning, June 27, Archbishop Beltran will open our Rachel’s Vineyard
Introductory and Clinical Training, a multi-track conference that concludes on
Sunday, June 29. A wealth of information will be shared throughout this
conference, in addition to opportunities for fellowship and inspiration.
For complete details and a registration form, please visit
http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/clinical.htm or contact Conference
Coordinator Susan Lepak at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (405)
Please note that the registration deadline for the
Rachel’s Vineyard Servants’ Retreat is June 17.
In addition, the Diocese of Palm Beach is sponsoring a
Rachel’s Vineyard training conference from July 11-13. A wealth of information
about how best to understand and help with the anguish that can be experienced
after abortion will be shared by presenters Kevin and Theresa Burke, and others.
For complete information and a brochure you can print out,
please see this link:
"Abandon yourself to His care and guidance, as a sheep in
the care of a shepherd, and trust Him utterly—no matter if you may seem to
yourself to be in the very midst of a desert, with nothing green about you
inwardly or outwardly, and may think you will have to make a long journey before
you can get into the green pastures. Our Shepherd will turn that very place
where you are into green pastures, for He has power to make the desert rejoice
and blossom as a rose."—Unknown
TWO NEW MEDICAL ARTICLES ON EMOTIONS
by Emily Peterson
In May 2003, two leading medical journals published
articles that indicate a link between abortion and later emotional distress.
The first article was published in the Medical Science
. The author’s summary of their research says:
"After controlling for several socio-demographic factors,
women whose first pregnancies ended in abortion were 65% more likely to score in
the ‘high-risk’ range for clinical depression than women whose first pregnancies
resulted in a birth."
The second article was published in the prestigious
Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) at
This article explored the link between abortion and
increased rates of psychiatric hospitalization. It found that women who abort a
pregnancy are 2.6 times more likely to require psychiatric hospitalization in
the year after abortion than women who experience an unexpected pregnancy and
carry to term.
News reports about the Canadian Medical Association
article appeared in dozens of daily Canadian newspapers, sparking a valuable
discussion about the emotional aftermath of abortion.
These two articles join six other articles published in
leading medical journals in the last eighteen months that indicate a significant
correlation between abortion and later emotional distress.
A main researcher in this area is David Reardon, PhD of
the Elliot Institute at
David Reardon also co-wrote the 2002 book "Forbidden
Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion" with Theresa Burke, founder of Rachel’s
(Emily Peterson publishes
http://afterabortion.blogspot.com/ , a weblog that focuses on the emotional
aftermath of abortion.)
A GREEK ORTHODOX PRIEST REVIEWS
Johannes L. Jacobse is a priest in the Greek Orthodox
Archdiocese of America. Earlier this year, he wrote a review of Burke and
Reardon’s "Forbidden Grief".
"’Forbidden Grief’ is a humane and compassionate work that
reveals how emotionally and psychological destructive an abortion can be for
women. Burke and Reardon explain that many women choose abortion out of
ignorance and desperation and not ideological motive or moral callousness. They
offer hope by showing that forgiveness and healing are possible."
The full text of the review can be found here:
Ordering information about "Forbidden Grief" can be found
June 13-15, 2003-Paterson, New Jersey
Contact: Marie Ryan 973 777 8818 ext 264
June 13-15, 2003-Siler City, North Carolina
Note: Spanish retreat
Contact: Kathleen Flynn 919 742 5380
Contact: Gloria Maldonado 919 548 3671
June 20-22, 2003-Memphis, Tennessee
Contact: Mary 901 277 5114
June 20-22, 2003-Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
Contact: Denise Rowinski Mengak 570 822 7118 x307
June 20-22, 2003-Hays, Kansas
Contact: Donetta Robben 785 623 7531
June 20-22, 2003-Austin, Texas
Contact: Grace Rau 512 238 1246 or 877 WE CARE 2
June 20-22, 2003-Edmonton, Alberta
Local host: Family Enrichment Center
Contact: Lucie Tettamente 780 466 2225
June 20-22, 2003-Portland, Oregon
Contact: Lori Eckstine 800 249 8074 or 541 521 5186
June 27-29, 2003-Auckland, New Zealand
Contact: Eileen Taffard
July 11-13, 2003-Hudson Valley, New York
Contact: Karen Robbins 845 297 9103
July 11-13, 2003-Tulsa, Oklahoma
Contact: Angela Maupin 918 585 8167
July 18-20, 2003-Tampa, Florida
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Debbie Baker
July 25-27, 2003-Dallas, Texas
Note: Spanish retreat
Contact: Jackie 972 679 4760
"How solemn is that sentence of Christ, ‘And I, if I be
lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me’! Not while He lived; not by
His direct force, but only when pierced, broken, slain, buried, should His
influence issue forth, and death should become the throne of His power. So will
it be with us if we are Christ’s. Paradoxes upon this truth lie all through the
New Testament, and one may walk on them like stepping stones, from side to side.
Sorrow is joy. Death is life. Down is up, at
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Rachel’s Vineyard is a division of American Life League