Hundreds gathered for a multi-church, community-wide pro-life rally after six women decided they had to “do something” tangible to stand for life. The event, organized by the group Locals for Life, was hosted at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas.
The group, led by Ella Bullock and Rachel Miller of Birchman Baptist Church in Fort Worth, include stay-at-home moms, a first-grade teacher, a part-time political office employee and a writer. The women describe themselves as “average, everyday Americans” who want to put feet to their vocal stance for the sanctity of life.
The rally, held Sept. 23 in SWBTS’ MacGorman Chapel, prompted several local churches to cancel their mid-week services in order to attend. The event focused on praying for a revival in hearts that would lead to a nation of people willing to protect life at all stages.
Birchman Senior Pastor Bob Pearle, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Professor Evan Lenow and Wedgwood Baptist Church Pastor Emeritus Al Meredith led the crowd in directed prayer times.
Photo by Adam Tarleton
More than 500 north Texans gathered in groups to pray during the Fort Worth Locals for Life rally held Sept. 23 on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Our Father, our hearts are broken over the callousness of our country,” Pearle prayed. “… Lord we pray for those in our elected offices. … And where those officials have been cowardly and have not voted for life, Lord I pray that you would so convict them that they would not be able to rest until they get their hearts and lives right with you.”
Lenow, who teaches ethics at the seminary and serves as director of the Richard Land Center for Cultural engagement, directed the crowd to pray for expectant parents.
“Lord we pray for these mothers, these fathers, these families and extended families,” Lenow prayed. “We pray that their choices would be choices of life. We pray that you would direct their hearts to recognize your handiwork. And in places where they cannot provide for these children, may you bring others into their lives who can. We pray that … our city be a city of life.”
Meredith asked the Lord to forgive the church for not fighting more diligently to protect life.
“Oh, Father, this is so egregious that it hurts to talk about,” Meredith prayed, “that we should snuff out the lives of millions of precious ones before they have a chance to take their first breath, and it happened on my watch. Father, forgive the silent Christians who stand by and say nothing while this holocaust of infants goes on. … Change our hearts, we plead in Jesus’ name.”
In addition to the time of prayer, those gathered heard from Sen. Konni Burton (R-Colleyville); State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth); and The Village Church Fort Worth Pastor Anthony Moore, a SWBTS doctoral graduate.
Krause, a politician who comes from a family full of Southern Baptist pastors, recalled a recent experience in which he walked out of the Capitol after having voted for life and was met with protestors advocating for abortion rights.
“They were shouting, ‘Shame on you,’“ Krause said. “But I hope my heavenly father is looking down saying, ‘Well done.’
“It is never okay to end the life of an unborn baby on purpose. Am I right?” Krause asked. His comments were met with enthusiastic applause.
Photo by Adam Tarleton
Thirteen local pregnancy resource centers, adoption agencies and pro-life organizations set up booths outside the rally to give attendees a chance to “do something” tangible to stand for life in their own community.
Moore, in a message from Genesis 4, reminded attendees that, yes, they “are their brothers’ keepers,” explaining that Christians must be willing to suffer with and help parents who cannot care well for the children they bear.
SWBTS President Paige Patterson shared his own testimony of choosing the life of his son in the face of what doctors told him was a hopeless situation. Choosing to give the child a chance despite the grim prognosis, the Pattersons’ prayers were answered affirmatively, and their baby was born completely normal. Yet, Patterson noted, so many children do not get that chance.
“Just stop to think about it for a moment,” Patterson said. “Can you believe that we have aborted in the wombs of mothers probably eight or 10 of the finest preachers who might ever have lived? … We may well have aborted somebody who would have discovered the cure for cancer. And yet we have gone on and on with this program. God forgive us for what we have done.”
Bullock, a leader of Locals for Life, shared a personal testimony in a moment that many called the most moving portion of the entire rally, evidenced by a standing ovation and teary faces across the auditorium. Standing on the stage with two women – her biological mother and her adoptive mother – Bullock and her mothers shared about God’s perfect plan for their imperfect situation. What was an unplanned, crisis pregnancy for Bullock’s biological mother allowed Bullock’s adoptive parents’ desire to grow their family possible.
A visibly emotional Bullock told the crowd that in God’s economy, there is no such thing as an “unplanned” life.
“To be surrounded by 500 people ready to stand for life was just another fulfillment of the perfect plan [God] put in motion 28 years ago when a 17-year-old found herself pregnant and chose life,” Bullock said after the rally.
Rachel Miller, a co-leader of Locals for Life, reminded the audience of the reason for the gathering.
“Here we are tonight because our God is a God of life,” Miller said. “He cares about each life because he made every one of them. We join him when we say what he did is good and worth fighting for.”
Just before leaving, attendees were asked to look under their seats. Those who found paper hearts taped to the seats were asked to stand. More than half of the people in the room stood up and held their pink and blue paper hearts in the air. Those standing represented the number of children who were aborted during the time the rally took place.
High school junior Melissa Manning said the paper hearts challenged her to do more to stand for life after leaving the rally.
“I feel more confident,” said Manning, who volunteered at the rally along with about 60 others. “I feel like I can go out, reach more people, and be educated about it. I want to go do something. I don’t want to just stand back. I want to do something and reach out to those girls who are my age and show them how important life is.”
More than a dozen pro-life organizations from the area were on hand to provide attendees with information on how to support pregnancy help centers, how to become adoptive parents and how to affect legislative change that will protect life in America.
The Locals for Life team founded their group in such a way that it can be reproduced in cities around the nation. The group can provide artwork files and other support to help any interested communities and can be contacted at [email protected] or through www.localsforliferally.org.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This article first appeared in the Southern Baptist TEXAN website.)