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November 17, 2010

Alexa ultrasoundGiving Thanks for Life
The Thanksgiving holiday reminds us to be grateful for the wondeful provisions of God for our daily lives--indeed for our physical lives and especially for our birth in the Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ.

In recent weeks, I have been saddened by the news of two newborn babies who lived only hours or days. I also received joyful news of a little girl born in good health. There is reason for gratitude for every life no matter how short. We are surrounded in our church and community by those experiencing both birth and death. It is common to our lives on this earth to experience both. The church community is meant to grieve and celebrate together, rejoice and minister comfort to one another. Life is a gift from God and sometimes fragile, but always meaningful. Certainly, God never intended that we would reject the gift of life by aborting our children!

Even in death Christians are not without hope. Death is not the end of our lives but rather the victorious transition to another dwelling place in the presence of God. The Heidelberg Catechism puts it this way:

"What is your only comfort, in life and in death? That I belong--body and soul, in life and in death--not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of his own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil..."
Hands young and oldCaring for the aged in the Household of God

by Rev. Justin Marple
Anthony, divorced, middle-aged, and with a daughter out on her own, returned to his hometown to care for his mother, Trudy. Trudy really needed more care than Anthony could give, but he hated the idea of letting her live in the local nursing home. Suddenly, Anthony, the caregiver, died from a heart-attack...

An elderly woman named Vada struggled to care for her son, Franklin, who was trying to break his addiction to drugs. Then her own health took a turn that forced her to live in the local nursing home...

ennedy's mother passed away. Her father, Keith, suffered many health problems and needed to be on oxygen constantly. Kennedy called all of her brothers and sisters and convinced them to take turns sitting with Keith... Unfortunately, Kennedy began missing church every week because no one in the family would share in caring for Keith on Sundays.

If the above stories sound familiar, it is because they are so common. You may have your own story about stepping up to care for your parents. The issues get more complicated when parents are so concerned about becoming a burden to their children that they consider assisted suicide. Sometimes it is the children who are eager to discard their elderly parents. Click here for the full story.
A Compassionate Way
man in wheelchair
By P.J. Southam
I am a volunteer chaplain at my local hospital. There are about two dozen of us, so I am there one or two days per month to give Christian spiritual care to patients, their families, friends, loved ones, and hospital staff. On one wing, there are two rooms set aside for patients at the end of their natural lives. These rooms are close to the nursing station, and have a nurse dedicated to these two rooms to attend to the patients' needs. The patients are given all of the pain control and comfort care that they require. There are couches and chairs in these rooms, so that family members and friends can be with their dying loved one around the clock if they wish. There is a small refrigerator, and a cart with food for anyone in the room. I have seen sadness among the people in these rooms, but I have also seen relief as families and friends have seen their loved ones die well: comfortably, relieved of pain, and surrounded by those who have meant so much to them through the years. Read the whole article.
Denomination News
Presbyteries are voting on important amendments to the PC(USA) constitution. Keep up with the vote tallies, debate across the denomination, and resources to stay informed at the following websites:

In This Issue
Giving Thanks for Life
Caring for the Aged
A Compassionate Way
Denomination News...
Ideas! Partner's for Life Churches share


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Pregnant with Promise book coverPregnant with Promise
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Partner's for Life Churches are building a culture of life in their congregations.

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Fort Square Presbyterian Church, Quincy, MA
Fort Square focuses on keeping a life message visible. They have a display in their Narthex year round that includes the fetal models. It is in a prominent place so that anyone entering the church (AA meetings etc) must go past it. Their PFL Certificate is posted in the Narthex so the stance of the church is visible.

A rose is displayed in the sanctuary for each baby born in the congregation.

On Sanctity of Human Life Sunday they draw attention to the display in the Narthex, pass out "precious feet" pins to all the children and have a children's sermon focused on life in the womb.

Fort Square has supported PPL generously from their mission budget for over 20 years .

First Presbyterian Church, Mora, MN
FPC Mora supports their local pregnancy center & promotes Sanctity of Human Life Sunday by using PPL's bulletin insert. The church is up front about their pro-life stand.
They are a Relief Of Conscience (ROC) church and have written a letter to their presbytery including the PC(USA) policy on abortion as one of six reasons for withholding per capita.
The Mora church continues to submit life affirming overtures in their presbytery. They are the lone pro-life voice in the presbytery but not discouraged by that.

More ideas next month!

It is my prayer that you will be filled with a fresh sense of gratitude during this Thanksgiving season for your own life and the lives of those you encounter daily. It is good to be serving with you in this denomination in defense of the vulnerable at the beginning and at the end of life. May God bless you with opportunities and grace to love and cherish those He brings into your path. I will be giving thanks for you in this Thanksgiving season!
Yours in Christ for Life,

Marie Bowen
Executive Director
Presbyterians Pro-Life logo
Give thanks to him!

Psalm 100:3-5
"Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his..Enter his gates with thanksgiving...For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations."