Anglicans for Life
I was at a meeting of pro-life leaders. Some of whom have been fighting abortion since it was legalized in 1973, and a few gave presentations reflecting their opinions of where we are in this battle for life.
One gentleman endeavored to provide a historical perspective on abortion, using the phrase “child sacrifice.” This phrase caught my attention and inspired me to revisit the Scriptures he quoted:
Jeremiah 7:30-31- ‘The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes,' declares the LORD. They have set up their detestable idols in the house that bears my Name and have defiled it. They have built the high places of Tophet in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.
Psalm 106:36-38 - They worshiped their idols and were ensnared by them. They sacrificed to the gods their own sons and daughters, shedding innocent blood, the blood of their own sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, desecrating the land with bloodshed.
Ezekiel 16:20-21 -- And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols.
These Scriptures bring forth disturbing images of what was being done to children, often the first born. We can see a parallel of disturbing images in our times when we hear phrases like “late-term abortions,” “infanticide,” and “abortions-up-to-birth.”
What I realized at the meeting is that while all of us want to see more people engaged in activities to end abortion and protect life at every stage of development, each ministry and organization must employ the strategies God inspires us to use, which, for Anglicans for Life, includes working through the Church and using the Word of God!
Anglicans for Life believes the Church has the critical role in our society of preaching, teaching, and living the truth revealed in the Holy Scriptures. The verses above make two things clear – God does not want people to kill children at any stage of their development, and these commands are to be obeyed by every tribe in the Old Testament—and this carries over to the Church in the post-New Testament world!
Can you imagine how different our society would be if every church were teaching against abortion? Think about it – just about every community in America has at least one church. If churches taught about the sanctity of life and God as our Creator – couldn’t we begin to influence the culture, instead of the culture influencing the Church?
I believe the Church is in a unique position to help prevent a lot of abortions, using two very different strategies.
First, according to a 2015 survey conducted by Care Net and LifeWay Research, it was found that of the 1,038 surveyed women who had abortions, 70 percent claimed a Christian religious preference, and 43 percent reported attending church monthly or more at the time of an abortion.
Similar data is also reported by the Alan Guttmacher Institute. According to 2014 clinic reports, the majority of abortion patients indicated a religious affiliation: 17% identified as mainline Protestant, 13% as evangelical Protestant, and 24% as Roman Catholic, while 8% identified with some other religion.
The Lifeway survey noted above also revealed that women dealing with unplanned pregnancies saw the Church as “lacking grace” and “gossiping rather than helping.” Among women who had an abortion:
· Two-thirds (65 percent) say church members judge single women who are pregnant.
· A majority (54 percent) thinks churches oversimplify decisions about pregnancy options.
· Fewer than half (41%) believe churches are prepared to help with unwanted pregnancies.
· Only 3 in 10 think churches give accurate advice about pregnancy options.
The head of the survey for LifeWay Research said, “Women are perceiving judgment from the church…if they don’t start experiencing something different than what they’ve seen in the past, these numbers aren’t going to change.”
As people who seek to uphold the sanctity of life and protect the unborn, the elderly, and most vulnerable, Anglicans for Life will be working to develop strong partnerships with churches to ensure they are well-equipped to provide both practical and spiritual assistance to any woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, so she sees the baby as an unplanned blessing and not as a reason for condemnation.
In addition to women fearing judgment for sex outside of marriage, there are elderly folks in our parishes facing end of life challenges that the church should help with, as well as teens struggling with their identity. In other words, the Church is full of people dealing with real life issues that the Gospel is uniquely suited to address! The key is that the Church needs to see the value in such ministries and begin offering them both to their parishioners and to the community they serve.
The second strategy is to employ the word of God in preaching and teaching the Ten Commandments, God as Creator, and the sacredness of life. We must pray against a spirit of fear of offending folks and instead speak about sin, brokenness, the need for a Savior, and love for life. Imagine what our culture would look like if every church was doing life-affirming ministry and preaching the Scriptures?
Well that is Anglicans for Life’s number one goal this year—engaging and equipping churches for life-centered ministry, education, and advocacy! And I want to invite you to join us. Life ministry starts with the laity and clergy recognizing God’s call to serve, and responding with an obedient heart. Anglicans for Life has developed three great educational resources to be used in your church, in small groups, youth groups, or your adult education hour.
Project Life - a Bible-based, comprehensive snapshot of the Gospel of Life and the Culture of Death, designed to help your parish be better equipped to witness to the importance of every human life.
Embrace the Journey - a series that applies God’s Word to end of life issues and addresses the practical realities of aging and dying, as well as medical, cultural, and spiritual concerns.
Abundant Life: You Were Made for More - an exclusively online youth program which addresses issues such as sexuality, pornography, social media, dating, and identity. Check out our website to learn more about the curriculum!
Anglicans for Life exists to help the Church help people with the life issues they are struggling with! The Silent No More Awareness Campaign is one of AFL’s premier projects that helps people impacted by abortion find after-care healing programs. Meeting people with the love of Christ during their biggest life crises opens the door to sharing the Gospel and discipling them through it.
Deacon Georgette Forney is the President of Anglicans for Life, a Christ-centered ministry that provides educational and pastoral resources to churches in the Anglican Communion to help them bear witness to the sanctity of life. She is also the co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, an effort to raise awareness about the physical, spiritual, and emotional harm caused by abortion and to let those who are hurting from abortion know that help is available. Georgette was ordained in 2014 as a Permanent Vocational Deacon in the Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy of the Anglican Church in North America. You can contact Georgette here.