I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
Several defining moments surrounding abortion rights in the United States, from the reversal of Roe v. Wade to decisions made at the state level, unfolded in 2022. We, as Christians, wrestle with the resulting mixed messages and their implications. At the same time, we’re witnessing new levels of awareness and resolve in local churches, personally getting involved in practical ways that uphold the sanctity of human life, from conception to final breath.
No matter what the current wave of judicial and legislative decisions or the court of public opinion is communicating, we know that our calling has not changed.
So, what does it mean to practically and faithfully live out the biblical mandate to uphold the sanctity of human life in our ever-shifting culture?
I have discovered the most effective efforts aren’t necessarily the ones most likely to make headlines nor those that immediately come to mind. They often come from individual Christians and local churches praying and then seeking opportunities in their unique contexts. These faithful people use creativity, innovation and wisdom to strategically steward the gifts and resources they have been given.
Be inspired by a few of the many efforts being lived out among our Wesleyan churches, by those who are seeking to be the light of Christ in their communities and intentionally upholding the sanctity of human life.
Glenwood Wesleyan Church, Easley, South Carolina
Glenwood Wesleyan is a small church with a history of faithfully providing financial and material gifts to a local crisis pregnancy center, but recently felt a prompting to get involved more personally in advocating for life. After a phone call to the pregnancy center, the church became excited about an opportunity to “adopt” a needy expectant mother and her baby.
Volunteer Marilyn Raines recalls, “The church came alive with shopping trips, food preparation, and baby shower decorations! The Glenwood ladies gathered with the mother in April to celebrate her decision to give her baby life and showered her with an abundance of gifts, ranging from diapers to a crib.”
The baby boy, born in May, is healthy and thriving. Church members have stayed in touch and provided items to make Christmas special for the young family. The mother has expressed enthusiastic appreciation, saying, “I would love for other people to come together and do the same for other mothers in need!”
CrossPoint Wesleyan Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
CrossPoint Wesleyan has sought to understand the unique needs of their community so they can support vulnerable children and families in effective ways.
Pastor Andrea Arrington explains, “Each month we give away around 100 bags of groceries to help supplement the needs of families.” When they became aware of the great need for diapers in their community, they enlisted their children’s ministry to donate diapers that are distributed, as needed, along with the groceries.
Recently, at a quarterly family fun night sponsored by CrossPoint, a mother who is a monthly recipient of the food distribution brought her two children. Not only did they have fun interacting with live animals and decorating cookies but were part of a devotional time where they heard about Jesus and the plan of salvation.
Revive Wesleyan Church, Hamburg, New York
Since 2012, Revive Wesleyan has been bringing awareness to the needs of vulnerable children and supporting families called to adopt or foster. To keep up with the demands of meeting both tangible and relational needs of their region’s vulnerable children and families, Revive played an essential role in a regional launch of CarePortal, a digital platform that allows local churches opportunities to connect personally to families in their communities by responding to vetted needs.
Erica McFarland, a lay leader at Revive, learned of a family through CarePortal that consists of a grandmother caring for her two grandchildren. The family’s caseworker entered a request for a washing machine into CarePortal and Revive’s CarePortal Response Team said “yes.” While initially seeming hesitant in her interactions, Erica recalls how the grandmother warmed up after she was approached humbly. Not only were they able to bless the family with a washing machine, meals and Christmas gifts, but with relationship and seeds of the gospel planted. The grandma continues to stay in contact, even reaching out for support when she lost a dear friend who had been a huge help in caring for the children. Erica is thrilled that, “CarePortal was a bridge to love on this sweet grandmother, who is working hard to take care of her grandchildren and family!”
As Christ followers, we each have a responsibility and role to play in upholding the sanctity of human life. The examples above are just a few of the endless ways we can love others well.
What does it mean for you personally and for your local church: to protect the vulnerable, to love and give extravagantly, to honor, strengthen and preserve families, to be family to those who are lacking, and to develop relationships that have the power to transform through the healing love of Christ?
Jodi Lewis serves as the director of Hephzibah62:4, a subsidiary of The Wesleyan Church dedicated to equipping and mobilizing local Wesleyan churches to transform the lives of vulnerable children. The churches featured above are Hephzibah62:4 partner churches.
Sanctity of Human Life Sunday will be recognized on January 22, 2023. Visit hephzibah.org for more information on how you and your church can partner with Hephzibah62:4 and engage in holistic Sanctity of Human Life efforts.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.