Candlelight Vigil at Planned Parenthood Aurora, Oct 1 [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
On Friday, October 1st, 60 pro-lifers gathered in the vacant lot across from Planned Parenthood’s “Abortion Fortress” in Aurora, Illinois for solemn candlelight vigil marking the third anniversary since the facility’s opening in 2007 under a cloud of controversy.
Pastor Jeff Moore of Aurora’s First Presbyterian Church led the group in an ecumenical prayer service. First Pres is one of the pillars of the pro-life ministry at Planned Parenthood, and Pastor Moore drafted the Clergy for Life statement published in local papers in 2007.
By His Amazing Grace
And interesting moment—and a sign of how the Holy Spirit is at work in the Fox Valley—came when the driver of a passing car called out “Love babies! Love babies!” right at the moment we were praying the following lines:
Grant that every fiber of our being may rejoice when a new baby, our own or anyone else’s, is born into the world. Help us to welcome them as we would welcome you, for whenever a new baby is conceived, another life to bear your image and another voice to praise and worship you, is beginning.
In my remarks after the prayer service, I shared this curious coincidence with the group, many of whom had heard the driver’s voice but not what was said. I also pointed out that really two tragedies took place on October 2, 2007.
Pastor Jeff Moore (on platform) leads the prayers at the vigil [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
The first, of course, is that Planned Parenthood finally opened their doors after a long controversy that drew national attention and earned Aurora the label of “Ground Zero” in the abortion war. The second is that so many who had stood up and voiced their opposition—in prayer vigils, protests and community meetings—gave up that day.
I said I could understand being dispirited when Planned Parenthood opened. In fact, those of us who have continued to pray and protest must thank God for giving us the Grace to keep going. “It’s only by His Grace that we are able to do this work.”
I called on the group to reach out to their friends—especially those who left the front lines back in October 2007—and invite them to join this ministry. “We see miracles happening here all the time,” I said, like the baby that was saved earlier in the week. “Invite your friends to come and see God’s miracles at work.”
I concluded the vigil by leading the group in all six verses of “Amazing Grace,” a hymn that has played a special role in the Aurora mission, right from the beginning.
Aurora Protest Enters Fourth Year
Both the great turnout for the Candlelight Vigil and the ardent, faithful spirit of the crowd were signs that the pro-life movement will continue to resist Planned Parenthood’s presence in Aurora. As I said in a Letter to the Editor published in both the Aurora Beacon and the Daily Herald:
Planned Parenthood may have thought they won the day when they opened for business on Oct. 2, 2007. But the determined opposition galvanized that day will ultimately prevail in removing their “abortion fortress” from our community.