“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

25th Anniversary for a Pregnancy Care Centre!

This column is boastful on my part. I confess my infernal Pride and will confess this sin after I post my blog.

My wife and I recently attended the 25th anniversary of Edmonton’s Pregnancy Care Centre. It was a moving experience for me because I co-founded this Christian pro-Life ministry to women in crisis pregnancies.* All evening I was close to tears to see what they have accomplished throughout two and a half decades. A few years after the ministry was established, back in the 1980s, I was forced to leave because my health was deteriorating due to multiple sclerosis.

Today, the Pregnancy Care Centre serves more than 1,800 women a year. Since its beginning, the Centre has helped an estimated 20,000 women!

At one point during the anniversary banquet a woman and her 15 year old daughter introduced themselves to my wife and me. The mother was helped by the Pregnancy Care Centre in 1993 when she was in a crisis pregnancy. She chose to give birth to her baby rather than abort her. Apparently at the banquet the mother pointed me out to her daughter as the person who co-founded the ministry. Her daughter wanted to thank me.

After their introductions and explanations were completed, I nearly wept. If it hadn’t been for the Pregnancy Care Centre the young girl standing in front of me might have been aborted. This occurred years after I was forced by poor health to step down from the ministry's Board.

There are very rare occasions in a person’s life when they realize that they made a life or death difference in the lives of others. It was one of those occasions for me and I am indebted to that mother and her daughter for letting me know that.

The day after the banquet, my wife decided it was time to clean our home’s basement of its clutter. She brought box after box of my papers upstairs for me to go through and throw away. All day long and into the night I sat in front of the backyard fire-pit burning papers, thinking about the millions of Canadian children whose mothers did not choose life for their babies. At one point in the paper purging process I came across my files pertaining to the establishment of the organization that eventually became the Pregnancy Care Centre. I had not seen them in years and found some speaking notes for an address I delivered to an evangelical church in 1984. I was asking them to get involved with the fledging ministry. This is part of what I said:

“We stand at edge of a precipice of a great and terrible day. Abortion is a package deal: Euthanasia and infanticide are the other parts of the deadly package. It is a slow walk from the abortion chamber to the nursery and the nursing home. The same arguments can be used for killing the severely disabled adult as the unwanted child in the womb: The life in question would be a burden on their family; the life in question is not even wanted by anyone; the quality of life for the individual in question will not be good.”

I continued: “Brothers and sisters in Christ, we cannot just sit back while this silent holocaust of abortion continues, and worsens, as it surely will. We must understand and believe in the sanctity of all human life ─ born or preborn, sick or well. We are all made in the image of God.”

Thinking I was on a roll, I concluded with these words: “Do you not see that the hour is dark? Do you not sense that Almighty God is grieved at the insult of abortion? I tell you this: Abortion is a denial of the God’s sovereignty. It is tantamount to telling the Giver of life that He doesn’t know what He’s doing. Abortion throws the gift of life back in God’s face unwanted, unopened, stamped Return to Sender.”

Christians did support the ministry not only with their financial gifts but
personal volunteerism. Many churches supported the Pregnancy Care Centre within their yearly budgets, and continue to do so.

The Centre expanded into public education, school programs about abstinence and prenatal development, post-abortion counselling, pregnancy care and support, mentoring, life-skills training and educational supports that enable young mothers to complete their education. At the Pregnancy Care Centre the operative word is love: love for people that is rooted in love for God. It’s shoe-leather Christianity at its best. Check out their website at http://www.pregnancycarecentre.ca/ .

The slow trains of infanticide and euthanasia have arrived. Disabled newborns are routinely killed in hospitals across North America. Neonatologists refer to the child they are about to kill as a ‘neonate’ in an apparent attempt to distance the baby from its humanity. Euthanasia is legal in Oregon and the state of Washington and other jurisdiction in Europe. Canada’s Parliament has been asked to consider a euthanasia bill under the guise of “death with dignity.” Much of the public has erroneously bought into accepting that euthanasia and assisted suicide are merciful.

Christians once again face a stark reality: We have entered a great and terrible day where vulnerable human life is now at risk outside the womb. We must again respond with love and compassion yet refusing to acquiesce to those who want help taking their own lives or the lives of sick or dying loved-ones. Let us take a cue from the Pregnancy Care Centre and reach out in life affirming Christian ministry to vulnerable populations at the other end of the life spectrum.

Mark Pickup

*The parent organization for Edmonton's Pregnacy Care Centre is the charitable Outreach For Life. It was based upon the U.S. based Christian Action Council, now called CareNet.

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