Pro-lifers offer 'larger, stronger, & more ecumenical' campaign than last year
When God gets something done, He often does it in 40 days: Jesus transformed the world after 40 days in the desert; God gave Elijah 40 days of strength through one meal; and the apostles established the Church after receiving 40 days of instruction from the resurrected Lord.
So when a group of pro-life Texans prayed for an answer to abortion in 2004, it's not surprising that they thought of the number 40.
"There is no end to the debate of what to do in combatting abortion," said John Hof, media relations consultant for Vancouver's "40 Days for Life" campaign. "The only way to have a lasting impact is when people humbly submit to God's will."
The Archdiocese of Vancouver will be participating in the second annual campaign, Feb. 22 to April 1. Hoff and the rest of the organizers are thankful for the archdiocese's involvement. "The encouragement and endorsement from the archdiocese has been inspirational."
The campaign's agenda consists of three components: constant vigil, prayer and fasting, and community outreach. The campaign credits simplicity for its strength.
Combining all three components of the campaign will be the around-the-clock prayer vigil set up in front of the Children and Women's Health Centre. The hospital is B.C.'s largest abortion provider. The campaigners hope their vigil attracts those interested in learning about the reality of abortion, and that it provides a place where hospital employees can come for repentance.
The group will also ramp up efforts within the community. A door-to-door petition is planned, along with flyers on the sanctity of human life. There will be yard signs, wristbands, and bumper stickers throughout the Lower Mainland. The campaign is also targeting the media through news stories and editorials.
This year efforts will be "larger, stronger, and more ecumenical," stated Peter Lee, campaign director of 40 Days for Life Vancouver.
According to the campaign, last year's effort touched many lives. Doctors and patrons were among the many who supported the vigil outside the Children and Women's Health Centre. One of the workers said they would quit their job in disgust over the issue.
According to Lee, members of Willingdon Mennonite Church, Canadian Reformed Church, and The Vancouver Chinese Evangelical Free Church participated in many of the campaign's events. However, Lee has experienced roadblocks getting other Protestant denominations to participate. "The churches fear that the abortion issue will tear congregations apart."
"Our efforts against abortion are feeble compared to God's," Hoff said. "I have never been frustrated by any lack of progress."
Since 40 Days for Life began in more than 400 cities, the group claims to have saved over 5,000 children and assisted in closing 19 abortion facilities.
Most encouraging, however, is that 35 per cent of participants are first-time pro-life volunteers. "I wouldn't be surprised if that number is higher in Vancouver," Hoff said.
Information about 40 Days for Life, including about getting involved, is available at 40daysforlife.com/Vancouver-bc and at firstname.lastname@example.org.