Today's news comes from our leadership team member, Erin Cain.
My hour was from 5-6PM, so it was rush hour traffic along Cleveland Avenue. The sounds from the street and rush of cars passing were so loud and so close that I was nervous to be standing there right off the street. The other two vigil participants and I began to pray the rosary, but could barely hear above the sound of the traffic. All of a sudden, a vehicle stops right in front of the abortuary, behind us. We hear a woman's voice ask, "What y'all doing? Praying? For what?" We turn around, and a black woman and her daughter are sitting in their van, stopped alongside this busy street during rush hour. My friend Therese went over to them and began to explain that this was an abortion clinic and inside they were killing unborn babies and that we were praying that they would stop. The woman seemed to be convicted right away and said something along the lines of, "I'm gonna come out and pray with y'all!"
So she drove away, and I don't know if any of us expected her to come back, so we resumed praying the rosary. But hardly two minutes later, here came the woman and her daughter walking across the grass in front of the abortuary towards us. We stopped and welcomed her and introduced ourselves. She asked if we were praying in silence, and we said that we were praying the rosary, but we could do silent prayer instead. We decided to do so, and she was going to open us in prayer. We gathered together so that we could hear, and she stopped suddenly, as if she had to explain herself, and said, "I mean, I pray to Jesus..is that what y'all do?" We quickly confirmed that yes, we did and she very passionately began to lead us in prayer, "Father God, we come before you right now on this day, and Lord we repent of our sins. Lord, they are killing innocent babies inside this building, and Lord we know that this is not what you want. You speak to us in Your Holy Word and tell us that this is wrong, Lord God..." She called down the Holy Spirit upon the building and prayed that any evil spirits would be cast out.
It was very moving, very unexpected, and very heart-felt. It was awesome. We said "Amen" and began to pray in silence. The woman had to leave soon after, as her 10 year old daughter was cold.
What a blessing! This woman was probably taking her daughter home from school, saw us with heads bowed in prayer, and decided to stop and see. She was a Christian, and needed to come and pray with us. It was only for ten minutes, but which ones of us would stop, unexpectedly and unplanned (when we probably have a thousand other things going on) to pray on a sidewalk at a place that you had never recognized before? About an issue that maybe you had never heard about before?
Please don't miss the blessing of coming to pray at the vigil. Wonderful things happen when we humble ourselves to pray.
I'll see you on the sidewalk,
Come, Holy Spirit, we lift our hearts to you!
Come, Holy Spirit, welcome in this place!
Lead us in worship, lead us in love and truth,
Lead us in holiness and grace.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
Come Holy Spirit, words and music by Fr. Rickey Brown
These are the lyrics to a song a friend of mine wrote. The song has jumped into my mind as my husband and I have stepped onto the sidewalk in front of the abortion clinic, and I find myself singing it as we walk or stand vigil from 6:00 to 8:00 every morning.
That's what we do when we go and pray at an abortion facility. We welcome the Holy Spirit into a place of darkness that He might shine the light of God into that darkness. We invite Him to lead us in our worship.
How often I am clueless as how to worship. I get lost in my own thoughts: "It's chilly this morning, I'm glad I put on that extra sweater." "I wonder if I'll talk to anyone today?" "Darn it, I forgot to bring my PDHC cards." "That's a beautiful sports car that pulled into the parking lot. Oh, it's Dr. Samuel. Hmm, beautiful car purchased with blood money." But the Holy Spirit draws my thoughts back to God and I begin again to worship and to intercede for the women and men who come and go from the abortion facility.
It's the Holy Sprit who conveys God's love, truth, holiness and grace to the people who see us there. All we need to do is ask His help to pray and worship.
It's a very simple thing we do. You don't have to be some kind of super-spiritual, super-cool, superman or superwoman to stand on a sidewalk and pray. You don't have to have all the answers to life's questions.
You just have to be willing to present. And what a wonderful present we are when we are present for the broken and hurting women and men who come and go from 5888 Cleveland Ave.
I'll see you on the sidewalk,
Have you ever done something helpful and good and wondered if anyone noticed? I'm sure we've all felt that way at one time or another. We'll here's a story of someone who did notice!
Tuesday afternoon our Outreach Coordinator, Kate Neil, and her husband, Joe, took to the the streets and hand-delivered flyers to more than 200 homes in the neighborhood around the Cleveland Avenue abortion center. The flyer informed the residents that there is an abortion center in their neighborhood, introduced them to 40 Days for Life, and invited them to come and pray with us. Yesterday morning our phone rang - it was one of the the abortion facility's neighbors. "Thank you for telling me about this - and for doing something about it!", the caller said to me. "I'm so glad that you're there and I want to help. When can I come out to pray?"
You may never know who sees you and/or the good you do, and you may never know the positive effect you have when you stand vigil or share the truth of life and abortion with the people in our community, but I promise you that someone notices. I wonder how many people read the information Kate and Joe passed out and have chosen to join us - but who didn't pick up the phone to call?
Every action - no matter how small - begins to ripple across the waters of your family, your neighborhood, your church, your city, state and even your nation. Keep on making those ripples and before you know it you're making waves!
Ripple away, everybody!
I'll see you on the sidewalk,
Today's story isn't from the sidewalk, but it's in preparation for going to the sidewalk!
Last night Greater Columbus Right to Life held our quarterly Praying for Life service. We met at Freedom Christian Fellowship in Grove City to worship the Lord in song and to seek him in prayer - all focused on the global, national, state, and local pro-life movement. As we moved from one prayer segment to another, Dave stood up and asked if he could share something. He said he now understood why he brought his little girl, Kaylee, with him to the prayer service.
Dave and his wife nearly aborted Kaylee. As we were praying last night he started thinking of all that he would have missed if they had gone ahead with their original plan to abort her. The first steps, the first words, the innocent and unconditional love of a child, the joy that parents experience when holding their children in their arms. . .
Dave is grateful for the decision he made, and so were we! Meet David and Kaylee - a young dad and child who narrowly missed falling victim to abortion.
Ready, Set, Go!
40 Days for Life begins in just a few, short hours. Have you made your commitment to pray at the vigil yet? We still need people to sign up for prayer times at the vigil.
Check out the Hourly Vigil Calendar online at www.40DaysForLife.com/Columbus
to see when we still need prayer partners. Of course you can come and pray at any time, but please try to come out at a time that isn't already covered by another prayer partner or group so we cover more hours. And don't forget to send us an email to let us know when you'll be there so we can update the calendar!
How Often Should I Pray at the Vigil?
Ultimately , that's a question only you can answer, but let me give you a few suggestions:
A few people are coming out one hour every day. That's a huge commitment, isn't it! But if you look at this way: Many people work 40-hours per week. Praying for an hour every day throughout the campaign is like taking a workweek and stretching it out over nearly 7 weeks. Looking at it that way, it's pretty doable, don't you think?
Challenge: two people have committed to pray at least one hour each day. Can you help us double that so we have at least four people who will pray at the vigil site just one hour a day?
Some people are praying for a 2 - 3 hour block of time every week. Perhaps you can come out Thursday mornings 8:00 - 11:00 a.m., or Tuesday evenings 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Can you flex your schedule at work so you can take a long lunch break once a week and come in earlier or later on that day? Weekday hours are always the most difficult to fill. Can you make arrangements for this short, 6-7 week committment to pray for the Pre-born a few hours once a week?
Challenge - can we have 6 more people who will commit to 2 - 3 hours at the vigil site each week?
A one-hour per week commitment is fairly common. Several small groups and individuals have committed to at least one hour each week. That's just seven hours of prayer over the entire 40-day campaign.
Challenge - are there 12 more people reading this email who will commit to just one hour of prayer each week?
Watch for Your Daily 40 Days for Life Email!
Beginning tomorrow (Feb 22) we'll start sending the daily 40 Days for Life emails. In it you'll find:
A daily devotional and prayer. Fulfill your commitment to pray every day by reading and praying along with the entire international 40 Days for Life campaign.
Open prayer times for the next three days. Don't let the prayer stop! If you're available to come out and pray during one of the open time slots please let us know you're going and head on out to pray!
A community outreach suggestion. One thing that you can do each day to share the truth about abortion and the sanctity of human life.
A Facebook Status Update. Are you on Facebook? Why not use it to help spread the word about 40 Days and the affect abortion has on our local community!
An encouraging word from our previous day's experience at the vigil site - either the vigil here in Columbus or one of the many vigils being held around the globe.
Don't forget to share your 40 Days for Life stories! The daily email will be uploaded to our blog. Share your stories by conmmenting on the blog -- www.gcrtl.org/blog.html.
This blog post on JillStanek.com
brings up some bad memories. I worked for the Ft. Wayne, IN, Women's Health Organization when it was in its original building in downtown Ft. Wayne across the street from our very busy public library. The same doctor is performing abortions today as when I was working there 26 years ago - George Klopfer. He comes in from Illinois every week. I never met Susan Hill, but my mother, who I worked for, did know her. I haven't heard her name in years. Memories are flooding back. (Continued below)
827 East Webster St., Ft. Wayne, IN. The former site of the Ft. Wayne Women's Health Organization - the abortion facility I worked at in the mid-1980s.
The building I worked in is now owned by a Christian, pro-life ministry. On my next trip to Ft. Wayne I hope to visit that ministry to deal with some of the memories that still haunt me on occasion.
I can't explain the emotion I feel to learn that the company I worked for is closed. It's. . . I dont know. I can't come up with a word that encompasses the grief of my past involvement with abortion, the joy of knowing that NWHO is closed, the heartbreak that abortions are still taking place in Ft. Wayne at another location but by the same local organization I worked for, the hope that this closure must certainly indicate that the abortion centers operated by NWHO must be struggling. . on and on.
I look forward to the day when Ft.Wayne Women's Health is also closed.
Please pray for Allen County Right to Life as they minister to the Ft. Wayne community and work to bring an end to abortion in Ft. Wayne.
Lord in Heaven, please heal my home town.
Greater Columbus Right to Life
On October 15, 2011, a memorial service was held for Baby Jane Doe, a newborn found thrown in a reservoir in Delaware County several years ago. Not until recently was a proper marker placed upon her burial site. Father Joseph Klee, officiated over the ceremony.
While the cold wind snapped at our hair, and the whizzing by of nearby vehicles inadvertently tried to drown us out, it could not silence the loud statement of this small, yet personal ceremony for this
tiny baby girl. The service was beautiful.
We sometimes forget as pro-lifers, that everytime we donate to a crisis pregnancy center, everytime we participate in outreach, everytime we support an organization like Greater Columbus Right to Life, everytime we attend a pro-life banquet or rally, we are doing this in an effort to save lives.
Stop for a moment and think about that. Saving lives. We are being used by the Holy Spirit to aid in sparing the life of a tiny, defenseless child from the violent act of abortion. Attending Baby Jane's funeral service reminded me of this. That we must do this work because it is what we are instructed to do in this sin-stained world.
This baby's life was literally thrown away, and it made the news because she ended up washed up on the shore. And it is heartbreaking. But what about the 28,000 other young lives that are literally
thrown away in Ohio every year? Who is mourning for them?
My children experienced something so important by attending the service with my husband and I. We are so proud of them both. My 7 year old, Anna, asked on the way home if she could write the baby a letter and bring a tiny teddy bear to her grave site. My heart filled with joy, along with sadness at that moment. Joy for the gift of my daughter and sadness for the loss of Baby Jane.
I was humbled as a parent. I was reminded how important it is to raise my children well, to teach them the Truth, to set an example of how to follow Christ, and that really, my children are not really mine, at all, but His. May God continue to give us strength and courage to continue this battle for
Sara Cleveland is Greater Columbus Right to Life's "2011 Defender of Life Award" recipient. An activf volunteer with several local pro-life organizations, Sara regularly sidewalk counsels women and families as they are preparing to enter one of Franklin County's four abortion centers. She is also active with other Pro-Life education and advocacy activities in central Ohio..
For Immediate Release
October 6, 2011
Contact: Ruth Yorston
Greater Columbus Right to Life Awards the 2011 Defender of Life at Tailgate for Life Banquet with Chris Spielman
(Columbus, OH) Greater Columbus Right to Life will present the 2011 Defender of Life Award at their Tailgate for Life with keynote speaker Chris Spielman on Tuesday, October 18, 6:30 PM at St. Andrew Church, 1899 McCoy Rd., Columbus, OH.
“I am inspired by how much volunteers give of themselves,” said GCRTL executive director Ruth Yorston. “They get up early and stay up late, show up in the cold, the heat, the rain and the snow, and they challenge themselves to go the extra mile to help someone going through an extremely difficult time in their lives. Volunteers give beyond measure.”
The three finalists, Sara Cleveland, Lorraine Curtin and Kim Hayes, together have volunteered for more than 60 years with local pro-life organizations. Sara Cleveland
has been strongly pro-life since age 10 when she met saline-abortion survivor Gianna Jessen. Cleveland volunteers with several local pro-life organizations, advocating for women, families and their preborn children on the public sidewalks of local abortion centers, educating college students about abortion and human development before birth, and actively
supporting life-affirming legislation at the Ohio Statehouse. “She is the kind of person you look at and wonder how she does it all, and she does it with a smile and enthusiasm,” said Darius Hardwick, Regional Director of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. Lorraine Curtin
has volunteered with Pregnancy Decision Health Centers since 2001. She has counseled abortion-minded women and their families at one of PDHC’s pregnancy resource centers, answered calls and counseled woman who call their hotline, and mentors other PDHC volunteers. “Lorraine has a special heart that is filled with compassion for those we serve,” said Julie Moore, PDHC’s Director of Caring Services. Kim Hayes
has volunteered with Pregnancy Decision Health centers for 21 years. She began volunteering in a client care office in 1990, but most of her volunteer time has been as a hotline consultant, taking calls through the night and offering help to women in crisis pregnancies. JoAnn Newman, PDHC’s Care Connection Manager said, “Kim has simply heard God calling her to work at the Pregnancy Decision Health Centers. In the beginning it was out of her comfort zone, but with the help and support of her family and God, she has helped so many young women with some of the hardest decisions of their lives.”Registration is still open for GCRTL’s October 18 Tailgate for Life. The VIP reception with Chris Spielman begins at 5:30, the dinner and program follow at 6:30. Information and registration is available online at www.gcrtl.org/tailgate-for-life.html.
For Immediate Release
September 30, 2011
Contact: Ruth Yorston
144 fewer Central Ohio women had abortions in 2010. That is a decrease of 3% over the number of abortions performed in 2009.
156 fewer Franklin County residents had abortions in 2010, a decrease of 4%.Greater Columbus Right to Life tracks abortions statistics for the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area, which until the 2010 census included Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Pickaway and Union Counties.
"We're thrilled to see a decrease in central Ohio women choosing to abort their pre-born children." said GCRTL's executive director Ruth Yorston. "Each time a woman chooses not abort she not only chooses life for her child, but she also makes a healthier choice for herself. Abortions carry a number of potential risks to women - physical, emotional and spiritual risks. We want to help women in unplanned pregnancies get the assistance and support they need to make that healthier choice."
The Ohio Abortion Report, released by the Ohio Department of Health, provides statistical details on induced abortions in the state. The 2010 report also shows that:
- On average, 102 pre-born chilren are aborted in Franklin County every week.
- 19.2% of Ohio abortions (5,291) were performed in Franklin County
- A disproportaionate number (43.68% of abortions continue to be performed on Franklin County balack women and their pre-born children (the overall black population in Franklin County is 19.3%)
- 23.37% of abortions were non-surgical, a slight decrease form 2009's 24.8%
- 232 abortions were performed in minors
"Women deserve better than abortion. We will continue to educate women and their families on the fact that life begins at conception and that every abortion takes the life of an innocent human being and to help them get the assistance and support they need to choose health for themselves and life for their child," said Yorston.
View the complete Ohio Abortion Report online.
*Source - Community Research Partners, Racial and Ethnic Populations, http://centralohioindicators.org/site/indicators/population/1_PDFS/Population%205.pdf, accessed 9/30/11
Rep. Andy Brenner & Ruth Yorston at the Life Education Booth
Thanks to the generosity of two families in Delaware County, Greater Columbus Right to Life has a Life Education booth at the Delaware County Fair (Sept 17 - 24). More than 150,000 people attend this popular county fair. They come to see and/or bid on the animals, enjoy the rides on the midway, watch the Little Brown Jug and consume their fair share of elephant ears, funnel cakes and fair food. And hundreds of people stop by GCRTL's Life Education booth to learn more about life issues and the Pro-Life movement.Our team of volunteers speaks with people about the sanctity of human life, offering information about issues such as abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia and assisted suicide. The primary feature of the booth is a fetal model set, showing the development of the pre-born from the first through seventh month of pregnancy. People of all ages come into the booth to look at the models, which acts as a conversation-starter to speak with them about the sanctity of life and the need to protect, not harm, people.
I was able to spend several hours at the booth over the last few days and was blessed beyond measure to speak with many teenagers about life before birth, abortion and abstinence. Here is one of the stories from my time at the fair. Please pray for this young people as they face decisions about their futures.
"Mary" (not her real name) is a 15-year old girl who came in with her twin sister. Like many other teenagers, she was fascinated by the fetal models and had questions about the development of children in the womb. She wanted to talk about more than that, though. Mary plans to be sexually active and wants to protect herself from an unplanned pregnancy, so she and her mother have scheduled an appointment with a doctor at Nationwide Children's for her to get a Depo-Provera birth control injection. After speaking with Mary about the birth control and the fact that it does not guarantee she will not become pregnant, does not protect her from the long list of sexually transmitted diseases common among sexually active teenagers, and has potentially negative side effects, I asked her an important question: "Why can't you wait to have sex?" Mary and her sister spent at least 20 minutes with me, learning about why waiting until marriage to be sexually active is the best decision they can make for themselves and for their future husbands. Before she left, she said to me "Wow, I feel really special, now." Mary is reconsidering sexual purity until marriage. Please pray that Mary takes to heart that she is a unique and special young woman, worth waiting for and worth protecting.
"Justin" (not his real name) stopped by to look at the fetal models too. He picked up one of the models of a 12-week pre-born child and was astonished to find out how developed children are at that point. After spending about ten minutes talking with me about abortion and why life begins at conception he said, "I need to bring my girlfriend to talk to you". When he came to the booth he was not sure what he thought about abortion, but when he left he had no doubt - life begins at conception. He took the model of the 12-week old pre-born child to show his friends and his girlfriend and brought some of them back later to speak with me.
These are just two of the many stories I have from my time at the fair. Please pray for our volunteers and the people who will stop by our booth yet this week.
Always for Life,