WELCOME BACK to another year of school! We wish all students the best as you start another semester of reaching and engaging the culture.
In light of this year’s Symposium theme, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, we want to challenge you to live out a pro-life lifestyle, without exception.
Sometimes exceptions creep in when it comes to our own pro-life activism. How many times have we put conditions on when or where or how we participate in pro-life activities? Whether this means taking part in pro-life outreach, attending a pro-life event or meeting, talking to friends, family, or colleagues about the issue, or donating to a pro-life group or initiative – all too often we act as pro-lifers, except when it does not fit into our schedules or comfort zone. We want to challenge you to be pro-life – without exception.
To help you, our NCLN Symposium will equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to defend the lives of pre-born children, in spite of the exceptions people may pose to you, or the exceptions you may create yourself. We hope to see you or a representative from your club at our Symposium!
Last week NCLN and Advokate joined efforts to co-host our final BC Summer Semester event: training in how to engage others in open, loving conversation, followed by Clipboarding combined with Student Life Chain. Through our combined efforts, over 40 participants were able to lovingly share the pro-life message with the local community in Abbotsford, showing them that every life is worth living.
Our volunteers were primarily composed of high school students in grades 10-12. Most of them were decked out in purple shirts, with the name of their affiliate organization, Gospel Roads, plastered on their backs. These youth joined our event as part of their social justice retreat; the retreat was geared towards helping high school students serve their local community while raising awareness about various social injustices. The students were excited for the opportunity to put their passion for social justice into action as they showed the Abbotsford community that pre-born humans have rights as well!
“Whom you would change, you must first love. And they must know that you love them.”
To help prepare the youth for engaging the community, Joanna, NCLN’s Western Campus Coordinator, presented about the need to speak out in truth and love, sharing the words of Martin Luther King Jr: “Whom you would change, you must first love. And they must know that you love them.” She shared personal stories of how conveying the pro-life message with a loving, gentle approach is the most effective way to engage our culture. She provided tangible ways the students could put their passion and convictions into action, encouraging them to do all they can to share the truth. As St. Augustine of Hippo said “The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.”
The participants then spent a fruitful hour of activism on the street. Most held Life Chain signs, conveying the messages that “Abortion Hurts Women” and “You’ll never regret loving this much.” Those who more directly engaged passersby through clipboarding carried themselves with great compassion, empathy and courage; they listened patiently to those they were conversing with and responded in a gentle, loving manner, acting as great ambassadors of the message of truth and love. Their enthusiasm bubbled over from their wide smiles and shining eyes and their joy was contagious.
After the event, every single participant enthusiastically said that they would do this again. Educating our minds with pro-life arguments matters, but ultimately, it is love that wins people over. In the words of Maya Angelou,
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
A message from NCLN’s new Executive Director, Anastasia Pearse
After working for NCLN for four years, it’s an honour and a joy to now transition into the role of Executive Director. I’m excited for this opportunity to continue to serve the Pro-Life Student Movement, sharing our life-affirming message alongside pro-life students across the country!
To all the students we work with: YOU inspire ME! I know the campus environment is a hard one to navigate, but you don’t let that stop you from reaching out. I want to continue to help NCLN empower and encourage you in your outreach so together we can better reach these students who are in such desperate need of hearing the pro-life message.
To all our supporters: your spiritual and financial generosity makes our work possible – you are a backbone of our work! Thank you for your encouragement and belief in all we do.
To our NCLN Board and Staff members: it is a privilege to be able to work with such a creative, gifted, and dynamic team. Thank you for the sacrifices each of you makes in order to make our outreach possible.
To Rebecca Richmond: you have been an amazing role model for me the past 4 years I’ve been on staff. You have motivated me with your enthusiasm and dedication to the cause. You will be missed! But I know you will continue to bless the pro-life movement with your talents and knowledge as you pursue your master’s degree in Ottawa.
To each and every one of us in the Pro-Life Movement: we have such a beautiful message of life, hope, and love to share with each person we encounter. Let us continue to work together so we can serve and impact our country as we build a culture that respects and upholds the value and equalityof all human life.
Join in community pro-life activities (postcarding, Choice Chain, and events run by your local pro-life society! Use the summer as an opportunity to reach out to these local groups and explore what they have to offer!).
Run a clipboarding event with your friends (it’s easy and – almost – free!) with friends.
Give an appeal at your church or have a bake-sale with friends to fundraise money for your club this fall (money to help you attend the NCLN Symposium? hint hint. Applications open at the end of June.).
Being involved now will:
Give you more experience in outreach, giving you more confidence and expertise to bring back to your campus in the fall.
Help keep pro-life activism as a regular part of your life.The summer shouldn’t change whether or not we’re active as pro-lifers, just where and with whom and how we’re active. Pro-life should be a lifestyle.
3) Connect with your club
Stay in touch over the summer. Start a private FB group for your club members and post updates on the Pro-Life movement, as well as updates about your life, jobs, stories about sharing the pro-life message. Keeping up to date with your club members now will help you work better as a team in the fall!
If you’re in the same geographical area, plan a meeting and social soon for your club members! Debrief from the past year, if you haven’t already, and share hopes and goals for the next year. Plan some ways to be active this summer (see number 2).
Plan a minimum of one meeting/month this summer to help you get the ball rolling for the fall. Even if you don’t live in the same city, you can still connect via Skype or Google Hangouts!
4) Expand your knowledge base.
CCBR’s Pro-Life Classroom has must-read/watch resources, broken down into bite-sized pieces. And consider adding a few books to your summer reading list to help you grow as a leader and as a pro-lifer.
Christine Helferty has been a strong leader on her campus at Queen’s University, and we are so thrilled to welcome her to the team this as our 2015 Summer Intern in Toronto! Christine will be helping us this summer with pro-life activism, planning campus campaigns for the fall, and much more. We find her so inspiring – we know you will too!
1) How did you get involved in pro-life campus activism?
Pro-life campus activism found me before I stepped foot in a university classroom! During my first year at Queen’s my older sister was the president of the pro-life club on campus, which meant that I was helping her recruit new students for the club before my classes even started. My parents and siblings fostered in me an appreciation for the beauty and sanctity of human life from a young age. I have known since elementary school that I want to dedicate my life to ending the injustice of abortion. University life has given me a million opportunities to embrace this mission.
2) How did you get to know NCLN?
My first encounter with NCLN was during my first year of university when two of the staff members came to Queen’s University to assist our club with a pro-life event. Following this I attended NCLN’s annual symposium in my second year of university. From this time I have been in contact with various NCLN staff members and have been impressed and grateful for their encouraging words, sincere care, and motivational challenges to succeed on campus as a pro-life student.
3) Why did you apply for the NCLN internship this summer?
I applied for NCLN’s internship because I believe in the extraordinary value of this organization, and I want to contribute to the mission of spreading the pro-life truth one student at a time, one seed at a time.
4) How do you spend your weekends and free time?
In my spare time I love to sing, play the piano, walk through beautiful trails, read, play volleyball, and spend time in the company of friends and family. My latest discovery has been swing dancing, which I have sincerely enjoyed and hope to continue to improve at!
5) Who inspires you?
So many people inspire me, and the list only gets longer each day! I certainly am inspired by my parents who have laid down their lives for their children every day, the great martyrs throughout history who sacrificed their very lives for a greater good, and the people I encounter in my every day life who fearlessly give all they are for the good of others.
Joanna graduated this spring from Trinity Western University with a Bachelors of Arts, majoring in International Studies. She also completed her Certificate in Leadership and Applied Public Affairs from Trinity Western.
As the former president of Trinity Western’s pro-life club, Joanna has extensive experience in campus pro-life activism and received training, guidance and assistance from NCLN’s staff throughout that time.
“Joanna will be a great compliment to our NCLN team,” states Anastasia Pearse. “Not only has she been creative and effective in her pro-life outreach, but she regularly goes out of her way to support her club members and other students in B.C., impacting them with her compassion, empathy, and dedication. I’m excited to have her on staff! She has a lot to give and our students out west are blessed to have her supporting them!”
Joanna will take on the position on July 17th.
We encourage you to join us in welcoming her! She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
“The way we view something changes the way we think about that thing, which changes the way we act towards that thing. Therefore, if we change the way people see abortion, then we can change the way they think about abortion, and we can change the way they act towards abortion.”
Yesterday pro-lifers from the Vancouver Lower Mainland had a chance to educate and transform themselves as they explored the pro-life position and how they can be a voice for the voiceless victims in our country. They were able to see the logic of the pro-life position and understand the reality of what this means for the children who are killed through abortion, for the men and women who suffer because of abortion, and for themselves personally who are called to bring about an end to abortion.
Afterwards, the pro-lifers reached out and impacted the culture through ‘Choice’ Chain. “A woman standing at the bus stop walked over and thanked us for being there. She said she was pregnant at age 16 and “it’s because of people like you that I have my son today!””
“A man was riding by on his bike and stopped to talk when I asked him what he thought about abortion. He said that he didn’t think it’s a good thing, but that if a woman was raped it would be okay. I asked him if he thought it’s okay to kill a child because of the crimes of their father and he stopped to think about it, then broke into a great big smile and said “Where do I sign?!” When he left he said, “I totally support your cause!””
“If more people can see that abortion is a violation of human rights, more people will act to stop it… No injustice has ever been ended by hiding the injustice that happens and covering up the victims.”