Sunday, Jan. 24th was a Sunday that churches around our country set aside as Sanctity of Life Sunday, a time to reflect on God’s gift of life and the impact of abortion in the lives of so many people.  As I have been reflecting on this matter and in prayer about it, the Lord has pressed on me a need for more learning and growth on this topic.  I want to share some of what God is stirring in my heart.

I want to learn how to have better conversations about abortion with others.  I believe I can better honor Jesus in the ways that I share my particular convictions as someone who is pro-life.  I want to become a better listener, especially to those who think differently than I do so that they feel heard.  I want to learn how to find common ground where it exists and partner with others to help support babies, mothers and families who are in difficult situations.  I want to learn about myself.  For example, why do I tend to be silent sometimes around difficult conversations like abortion?  God is teaching me the importance of talking about difficult things.  I’ve learned that I am not fully skilled at it yet, but the Spirit encourages me to grow as an ambassador of Christ in humility and love.

For those whose lives have been impacted by abortion and who choose to share their story, I want to be a safe place for that story to be shared.  I want to receive and hold people’s stories with honor and with grace.  I want to learn how to play my part in shaping our church to become a safe place for stories to be shared.  My prayer is that nobody will experience the shame of isolation or the loneliness of hiding, but rather, that the freedom of love and the acceptance of the community of Jesus would be experienced.

For women who become pregnant and wrestle with decisions surrounding their pregnancy, I want to demonstrate support and love from pregnancy to parenting.  I know our church is such a place for this support to happen.  My prayer is that we be a sanctuary for those who are longing for support? 

I believe that God desires pregnancies to result in birth, and I believe that God desires that all people born would experience the fullness of life.  I also believe that I have much to learn about such things.  So I am thankful for the resources that God has set in my life for this learning to take place.  I am thankful for the Northfield Women’s Center, an organization that has engaged in this work for decades in our community.  I know I can learn much from our friends there.  I am thankful for opportunities for reading and learning.  Today, I am most grateful for you, those in our church community who have a heart for these matters and who invite me into a journey of learning.

May God fill our heart with courage so that we would be a people who demonstrate the love of Jesus to our neighbors. 

Sincerely,

Pastor Abe