“The turnout was excellent, as there were representatives from 13 churches present. Because of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, there were many people walking by, and some of them did not support what we were doing. The courageous vigil participants were nevertheless steadfast their prayerful witness, and their example was truly inspiring. Some supporters also walked by, and one woman, in particular, asked a question about adoption. I offered her some literature about local crisis pregnancy centers which would have that information, and graciously accepted it, which was a positive sign. Lisa Kosloski also dropped by with some excellent flyers which explained the truth about abortion, and several people who walked by over the course of the next few hours took that flyer, which was another good sign.”
Chaplain Steve wrote about his 3pm-7pm shift:
“One man yelled at me, “No one’s having abortions on Saturday!” as he headed to one of the bars in the same block as the Clinic. St. Patrick certainly would have turned green to see the people going into Planned Parenthood. I turned green a little later when another man spat at me, missing my head by inches as his spittle hit the building. I was thinking how lucky I had been, then an hour later another man came by who didn’t miss. About dinner time the walking crowd had thinned quite a bit, but cars started coming to park directly in front of the clinic, ignoring the crosswalks and the intersection itself. One driver very carefully backed up next to where I had moved my chair, so that when his passenger opened her door it would hit me. She closed it and reopened it vigorously 3 times, yelling at me, until I got up and moved away. She was yelling that “you all tell lies, there’s no way that’s not a legal parking space, and you tell lies about abortion too.”
Three ladies from Ambridge, in Beaver County, were there, too, praying with me the prayers Jeannie had laminated on the back of our “40 Days For Life” signs, when first one young man and then another came up to us to have a reasonable conversation. The first wanted to know when we believed life began, and then tried to change our answers into something ridiculous. Then he didn’t consider “the morning after pill” to be abortion since the girl would never even know if she had gotten pregnant, never mind that her intent was to terminate any pregnancy – kill any baby – that might have begun. Finally he insisted that Obamacare is critically important because without it his girlfriend couldn’t afford the $800 fee her doctor charged for a routine office visit to get a prescription for the pill.
The second young man thought we were wasting our time, that we should have been providing direct assistance to some young mother who had decided to keep her baby. He didn’t consider my two adopted children to be “direct assistance…” He admitted mixed feelings about abortion, but focused on us “wasting our time.” While he was talking a middle-aged woman came by, cursing us and the mother and father who had conceived her and given her up for adoption. I think she was saying they should have aborted her instead of giving her up, and she blamed her many emotional problems (she described her life as “hell”) on being adopted. I’m sure my daughter would have loved to argue with her about the life adoptive parents provide.
As I went home to my warm house and loving family, feeling sorry for having been spat on, yelled at, and hit with a car door, I turned on the television, and found the movie, “Bonhoeffer –Agent of Grace” (www.imdb.com/title/tt0250264/) and was reminded of what Christian martyrs have experienced throughout history. “Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me (Matthew 5:10 NASB).” Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis, hung on a gallows with piano wire, a technique used to make death more gruesome. My father and great-grandfather became ill while serving as missionaries, and died as young men. After considering these 3 fairly recent witnesses who died while serving Our Lord, I didn’t feel so bad about my first experience as a Shift Manager.
We had begun the day at the Clinic with Prayer and Praise on the sidewalk with a grand spectacle: A Roman Catholic Priest from Greensburg and a Pentecostal Chaplain from the South Hills shared in leading worship with Catholics and Protestants singing and praying together for an end to aborting in this country, and for the closing of this office, all the while green-clad and green-haired partyers headed for Pittsburgh’s St. Patty’s Day Parade. The sight of a truly United Church contrasted strongly with those celebrating the Feast Day of one of Christ’s most famous saints was outstanding. I used healing oil to anoint the building where so many babies have died, praying that God would remove this infection from this building, this City, and this country. I was struck by the way the stone building absorbed the oil so quickly, a parched structure receiving the anointing hungrily, as if the building itself regretted the murder which takes place within its walls. Yet the spot where I trace the Cross was still visible when the service was over.
Wishing you God’s peace,