I had sensed for some time that the March for Life and the activities surrounding this years march would be significantly different than in years past. It seemed as though there had been a breakthrough in the heavens that would be revealed in the earth. This would be the first year that our communion would celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lord the Giver of Life as a worldwide celebration honoring the sanctity of life on January 17. We would not just be commemorating Roe vs. Wade in the United States. This was going to be different. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Beginning on the Feast Day, I spoke at the Church of Reconciliation on Sunday morning, followed in the evening with a regional Pro-life Youth rally hosted by the church.
Following is an account of January 17 by Fr. Rob Northwood’s wife Sarah.
The Church of Reconciliation in Bel Air, MD celebrated The Feast Day of Our Lord the Giver of Life on January 17th, 2010. Fr. Terry Gensemer, director of CEC for Life, preached a pro-life sermon during the morning service. Continuing in the spirit of celebration, the church hosted an interdenominational Youth Rally that evening with guest worship leader Brett Rush. A large group from Holy Trinity CEC church in Stewartstown joined with those from neighboring churches here in Harford County as we praised the Lord together, heard an inspiring message from Fr. Terry, and enjoyed pizza and ping-pong afterward as the young people had a great time making some new friends. Fr. Terry’s message to the youth was that being pro-life is not that complicated. He asked for a show of hands of all those who knew it was wrong to hurt babies. He said that it is really that simple, “God loves life and He wants us to love life also.” He went on to say that the first step to being used of God to change the world is to believe that you can be used by Him. Fr. Terry informed the youth that each one of them is uniquely gifted for ministry. He invited them to come up front if they were willing to pray for each other, saying that the anointing for prayer comes from the Holy Spirit and that they were indeed anointed to minister to each other. While the worship music continued, some of the teens came up to the front of the church and opened up their hearts for prayer. Others allowed themselves to be used by God as they laid hands on their peers. Brett Rush shared a song which he had written for a young woman in his church who had found herself in an unexpected pregnancy. The song, “Talk To Me” he explained, was written to encourage the pro-life community to become better listeners in order to help those who find themselves in such difficult situations.
On Thursday night Star Parker, founder and president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education, graciously agreed to be this year’s keynote speaker at the 2010 CEC For Life Youth Rally in Washington, DC. With the compassion of Christ and the spunk of a woman who has wrestled with the angel, Star shared her testimony of learning to live in God’s provision and encouraged our young people to speak out on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.
ACCOUNT of FRIDAY MORNING by Jacob Jones
On the morning of January twenty ”“second, a culmination of events took place that occurred prior to the actual March for Life. The morning began with a prayer rally organized by Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition. He extended an open invitation for the youth gathered outside of the Dirksen Senate building to pray for their nation and to pray for an end to abortion. Many youth prayed not only for an end to abortion, but for a change of heart for those gathered to celebrate Roe. V. Wade. Many of the youth carried signs saying, “ 1/3 of My Generation Have Been Silenced.”
While the youth gathered to pray, many of the adults especially clergy including our Patriarch, Archbishop Craig Bates gathered inside the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center to remember the lives lost through abortion at the National Memorial for the Unborn organized by the National Pro-Life Religious Council on which the Patriarch and the Director of CEC for Life, Fr. Terry Gensemer are board members. The Patriarch stated that the event has “grown to be one of the largest ecumenical gatherings united for life ever.”
After these meetings took place, all united together in front of the Supreme Court building under the direction of Fr. Terry Gensemer, Director of CEC For Life to celebrate the Liturgy for the Preborn which offers the most basic human rights we can offer children slaughtered by abortion; a Christian burial rite. This year offered more vocal opposition from the other side as we began to pray and worship the Lord. A large gathering of pro- abortion supporters including those from the “ Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice” began chanting for the right to “choose” and many signs saying, “My Body, My Choice!”
We began to pray and many youth encompassed their ring with prayers ascending and songs for the Lord echoing through the crowd. Very soon their chants were silenced by the Word of God and the songs of a very anointed praise team. Dr. Seanie O’ Domhnaill( Founder of the Mother & Child Campaign, Ireland and Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist)addressed the crowd, citing cases he has personally observed where women who have had abortions are scarred for life and challenged us to keep praying and interceding for life. Alan Melanson ( Youth Director & CEC for Life Board Member) also spoke and gave an update of the many youth gathered and their witness to life.
ACCOUNT OF SILENT NO MORE by Sarah Northwood
This year I was given the opportunity to stand with the women and men of Silent No More at the March for Life in Washington DC. This is a campaign which exists to make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings to women, men, and their families. Knowing from my own experience how painful abortion is, I knew immediately that I wanted to join them as they shared their testimonies on the steps of the Supreme Court following the March.
Holding a sign which said, “I regret My Abortion”, I didn’t know what to expect as the marchers filed past. Would they judge me? Would they hold me in contempt? After all, probably not many of them have done such a horrible thing. But, as God is gracious, so are His people. I found compassion in their eyes. Many stopped to hug each one of us and to tell us that they appreciated our willingness to share our stories for the benefit of others and the babies.
When my turn came I was blessed to find that once again, when we open our mouth in the Lord’s service He will fill it. I told of how I had the abortion when I was 19. Believing that having a child at that age would “ruin my life”, I chose to end the pregnancy and put it behind me. Little did I know that the abortion is what would ruin my life. After years of stuffing the pain, being numb to the guilt, thinking there was nothing wrong with me, I met Jesus Christ. He was gracious enough to give me a vision of my child. When I “saw” him in heaven, he was a complete person, with talents and personality. I saw the relationships he would have had and it was at that point I began to really grieve and repent of the sin of abortion. It took years of healing. I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat just this past June and was blessed to find that the Lord has taken me through all the stages of the healing process. I am forgiven, but I will never stop regretting the abortion I had. I believed the lie that I would be better off, but a woman does not kill her own child and get rid of that pain with no ill effects. She may think that it does not affect her, but that is when she should be asking, “Why?? Why is this not bothering me?”
In closing I will share the chorus of a song that the Lord had me write about my abortion experience:
Where’s the shame? Covered with Christ’s blood
Where’s the pain? Being healed by God’s love
Where’s the truth? It’s a sharp sword in my mouth
Where’s the fear? By Love it’s been cast out!
If you or someone you know is experiencing pain following an abortion there is help! Rachel’s Vineyard www.rachelsvineyard.org is a weekend retreat which can help bring healing to the woman. And www.silentnomoreawareness.org is another excellent resource. You may also contact me if you need someone to talk to: [email protected]
This article is a compilation of writings by Fr. Terry Gensemer, Jacob Jones, Sarah Northwood and Sarah Howell on behalf of CEC For Life
The week was punctuated with a powerful Eucharistic Servive on Sunday January 24 at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Westminster, MD. where Fr. Terry encouraged the congregation to keep being who they are as Christians, People who have simple faith, who have repentant hearts, who give of themselves, and who trust in the Lord. The result of authentic Christianity is the only true foundation on which to build a Culture of Life.