The Equality Center is dark and unoccupied in the late evening, with only a few signs standing sentinel outside: Civility, Compassion, Love. Stop Sidewalk Bullying. Legal Abortion IS Pro-life. There’s no competition for parking spaces. Traffic is minimal – a startling thing, for someone who knows the city only from the hours when the legislature is in session a few blocks up the road.
In that tranquil midnight setting, with no fanfare and no confrontation, the city’s Spring 2017 40 Days for Life campaign drew to a close.
Students, Knights of Columbus, an Anglican priest, and a few of us with no particular affiliation were among the people joining campaign leader Beth Gaby for an hour of quiet prayer for everyone who goes in and out of the abortion facility, whether clients, workers, or contractors.
Beth brought 40DFL back to a city that had gone without a campaign for awhile. She had some challenges. One local Equality Center abortion supporter took to Facebook regarding 40DFL: “Victory is….intimidating clinic protestors [sic] to the point they get in their car and leave.”
Beth must have known from the vigil schedule which 40DFL participants were the targets of the angry woman. Beth’s response was to join those participants during their next scheduled hour. One of those participants later brought two more people with her to pray. The moral support was contagious.
A few hours before the Concord vigil, the Greenland, New Hampshire 40DFL team gathered for a closing rally, followed by prayer in front of the Lovering Center. The 40DFL volunteers took advantage of a splendid 70-degree spring day. Campaign leader Jackie McCoy sent an email afterward to supporters, including those who had been unable to attend.
“Thank you to all of you who have prayed, fasted and witnessed to life, from your homes and on the sidewalk. I got to speak with some of you at today’s closing rally, and I am always so impressed, and blessed by your steadfast support of 40 Days for Life, and the compassion you have for the unborn, their mothers, and also for those who oppose you.”
Jackie mentioned encouraging things from the campaign, including friendliness from a Center worker and increased news coverage in local media.
I’ve been a guest speaker at Greenland 40DFL in the past, and I am always touched by the warmth of the local team. Every rally wraps up with a “tailgate party” of sorts, with coffee and snacks, followed by a delivery of treats to the New Generation home across the street.
Until Next Time
The next 40 Days for Life campaign will begin September 27. There’s plenty of time to discern whether it’s your turn to step up to lead a campaign in Manchester, Concord, or Greenland.
In the meantime, Cathy from the Pray for Life Center in Manchester invites pro-life witnesses to prayer vigils outside Planned Parenthood’s Manchester office on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is not a 40 Days for Life campaign, but rather a year-round effort. See the Pray for Life Center’s Facebook page for more information.
See also this list of agencies providing direct, no-cost services to pregnant and parenting women in need of resources. Your support and your presence keep them going.