Our staff at NCLN wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas. We are so incredibly blessed to be able to work with and for you as we support pro-life student leaders and share our life-affirming, life-saving message on university campuses. We have much to be thankful for and rejoice over as we celebrate this joyous season!
As we reflect on the meaning of the season, there is so much that affirms and encourages us in our pro-life ministry. We encourage you to take couple minutes to read our Christmas reflection, written by our Western Campus Coordinator, Joanna.
GEARING UP FOR 2016!
To ensure you’re equipped to start off the new year, we have a variety of resources, campaigns, and events to help you impact your campus!
Our monthly SPARC outreach will continue, starting in January with a pro-life t-shirt day on January 28th (commemorating the 28th anniversary of the R. v. Mortgentaler decision that struck down all laws against abortion in Canada). Click here to download the Spring 2016 SPARC Calendar!
Geared for Life T-Shirts
Check out our Geared for Life page and order a pro-life t-shirt! Wearing the t-shirt is a simple way to be a pro-life witness, and can lead to many fruitful conversations. Buy one by January 8th so you have a chance to receive it in time for our January SPARC event!
Responding to Physician Assisted Suicide in Canada
Our staff are working with LifeCanada on a campaign we can use on our campuses and in our communities to educate people about physician assisted suicide, and to move them to action as we support the vulnerable in our society. To kickstart the campaign, our NCLN Western Office will be co-hosting a workshop in Vancouver on Saturday January 30th. Stay tuned for further details.
The QA Project
Need more resources to fuel your QA Project activism? Visit our Geared for Life page to order cards, pins, and stickers online!
We pray you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for all the amazing work you’ve done to bring more light and hope into this world.
Over the next couple weeks, we will be sharing a series of posts that address many of the tough questions we encounter during our pro-life outreach. We hope to provide you with practical responses that help you not only understand how to respond, but also why we are addressing these concerns and questions in the first place.
However, even with the “right” answers tucked into your belt, pro-life outreach often includes being personally attacked. Regardless of the accusations made against us personally, there is one way in which we must always respond: with a heart full of love, reaching out to the other’s heart that is in need of healing and of hearing the truth. This initial blog post addresses this core foundation of our pro-life outreach and how you can live this out, even when faced with hostility.
Let Love Win:
Bringing our Hearts to our Pro-Life Outreach
Written by Joanna Krawczynski, Western Campus Coordinator
Sometimes, Life Chain can seem like a discouraging form of outreach. The only feedback we tend to receive at a Life Chain are honks, yells, and a variety of hand gestures. The high school students I was with during my most recent Life Chain event were the recipients of all the above – one student was even the victim of a drive-by drink throwing.
Luckily, the fellow who threw his unfinished iced coffee from his car window did not aim right, and his drink crashed between the curb and the highway, rather than on the bright purple shirt of the student. The other high school students on the sidewalk were understandably shaken and surrounded their friend with concern, “Are you okay?”
One girl asked, “Aren’t you mad?”
The student responded, “No… why should I be?” She laughed, “I mean, maybe he just thought I was thirsty!”
Grace abounds from the heart that is full of love.
That’s the only way I can understand this student’s gracious response to adversity.
One might be tempted to think that we have every right to be frustrated with the censorship and opposition we so often encounter. But how can a heart that is held captive by bitterness or anger be free to extend love?
After all, what kind of Canada do we want to grow old in?
Are we seeking to build a culture of hostility or of hospitality?
And I’m not talking compromise – to be a voice of hope and healing requires that we recognize that something has been broken, that something has gone seriously awry and is in need of rescue.
And yes. Even when we approach each conversation with the kindest heart and the most sincere compassion, we will still face adversity. Many of the people to whom we are reaching out are standing on shaky foundations built on lies about their value and the value of human life. When we try to dismantle this, it is no wonder that we encounter reactions such as anger and are personally attacked with iced coffee or hurtful comments.
One afternoon, a fellow who identified as pro-choice told me, “I honestly hope you do not succeed. You will be hurting a lot of women in the process.”
As I mentioned then, dear student, and I repeat now, I honestly hope we do succeed in sharing this message of hope and healing. I personally know too many women who have been hurt by abortion. For their sake and for the lives of their little ones, we cannot keep silent.
In the words of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr, in his letter from the Birmingham jail,
“If I have said anything that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.”
Next time you engage in a conversation, ask yourself: What is motivating you to have this conversation? Are you speaking out of a true desire to heal the broken, or out of a need to win a debate? Further, when we encounter situations of hostility or adversity, how do we respond: with grace, or with grumbling? When we bring our hearts to pro-life outreach, even in situations of hostility, we really only have one option:
As a student at the University of Ottawa, Billie saw pro-life messages in chalk on her campus for the first time a couple of years ago. This is her story:
“I used to be a radical pro-choicer
because that was my peer group and the rhetoric I heard from a young age.
A couple years ago, I was walking out of the cafeteria [at the University] and I saw the statistic about Down’s syndrome children being aborted. It was the first thing I saw. I saw it a couple times and tried not to think about it. After the third time, I let myself think about it and was angry. It must not be true.
I was angry at the pro-life club for chalking the messages but I didn’t know why I was angry.
I looked it up on the computer and found very official statistics that confirmed it was true. I was heartbroken because I’ve worked with special needs kids all my life – by choice. They’re already underestimated and discriminated against as it is.
Learning that fact and learning it was true was the catalyst to researching the issue more from both sides.
It took about 6 months before I called myself pro-life.
The more I read the more I learned I had been on the wrong side. I had to admit I was wrong.”
Billie is now involved with uOttawa Students for Life, chalking these same messages on campus. Students across Canada shared the pro-life message through the Chalktober Campus Outreach Campaign this month. Photos to come!
ANTI-ABORTION GROUP AT RYERSON FILES LAWSUIT OVER ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION
October 14, 2015. TORONTO, ON— Pro-life students at Ryerson University have filed a lawsuit against the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) over denying their club, Students for Life at Ryerson (SFLR), status.
On February 23rd, 2015, the RSU Board of Directors unanimously voted that SFLR would not be allowed to form a pro-life club. This vote marked the last step in an appeal process that began in the fall semester after SFLR was rejected by the Student Groups Committee on the basis that the RSU, “opposes…groups, meetings, or events that promote misogynist views towards woman [sic] and ideologies that promote gender inequity, challenges women’s right [sic] to bodily autonomy, or justifies [sic] sexual assault”.
“Our club stands for human rights for all human beings, including those at the earliest stages of life. We also want to support pregnant students on campus who want alternatives to abortion,” states Carter Grant, a third year business major and Vice-President of SFLR.
Pro-life students at Ryerson were first denied club status back in 2003. Now students are taking the decision to court to assert their right to be treated fairly by their student union, and to not be discriminated against on the basis of their pro-life viewpoint.
What is happening at Ryerson is not an isolated event. Pro-life students across the country have faced similar censorship at other institutions, including at the University of Victoria, University of Calgary, York University, Carleton University, Trent University, Lakehead University, and Capilano College.
As a strong advocate for freedom of expression, the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) strongly opposes these acts of discrimination and is assisting the students with this case. CCBR’s new legal department, CCBR Legal, has retained experienced constitutional lawyer Carol Crosson to defend the students. Ms. Crosson says that, “pro-life students have been denied rights on campuses long enough. This is the time to end this battle and enshrine students’ rights on campus.”
Through CCBR Legal, CCBR provides legal representation for those in the pro-life movement. As history as shown, legal representation is an integral part of successful social movements. The law protects the right for pro-life individuals to share their message on the same basis as others and CCBR Legal is determined to protect this right.
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.
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
It’s hard to believe that we are halfway through the school year and already in 2015! UTSFL is hopeful as we gear up for a New Year of pro-life activism. But before we get too caught up in our plans, let’s remind ourselves of the ways that we reached students, faculty, and staff with the pro-life message last semester:
We reached out to lots of students with our table at various Clubs Fairs…
…and sold baked goods as a fundraiser for Aid to Women.
Some of us were able to attend the NCLN Symposium, which gave us the tools and wisdom to make our club as effective as possible.
We helped organize a group to participate in LifeChain…
shared the story of the life of Elliot Hartman Mooney in “99 Balloons”…
and welcomed the Sisters of Life who taught us about Understanding the Heart of a Pregnant Woman in Crisis.
We hosted an event in which Maaike Rosendal from the CCBR taught us how to dialogue on abortion…
and used our newly-acquired skills to speak to students about the current status of abortion law in canada (hint: there is no law).
And we finished off the year with a Christmas Social, in support of Birthright!
Happy New Year to all! Let’s see what we can accomplish this semester!
Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.
What an amazing year we’ve had! We’d like to thank all our students, staff, and supporters for being part of what has been a blessed year of life-affirming, life-saving work at NCLN!
We’d like to share with you some highlights from the last 12 months of campus outreach in Canada (not in any particular order):
Some Personal Highlights:
Central Campus Coordinator Clarissa Luluquisin – now Mrs. Clarissa Canaria – got married on May 10th.
NCLN Board members and former staff Theresa Gilbert and Sarah Hall gave birth to baby boys.
Western Campus Coordinator, Anastasia Pearse, graduated from Trinity Western University with a Masters degree in Leadership in November.
Campus Movement Highlights:
Students run successful clubs tables during both the winter and fall semesters, sometimes dealing with red tape because of groundless complaints lodged against them (Waterloo, Niagara), sometimes facing protesters (York), and sometimes having vandals throw used kitty litter at them and steal their fetal models (UVic).
SNMAC Tours reach thousands of students in B.C.and Ontario with the message of hope and healing
To mark the 26th anniversary of the R. v. Morgentaler decision, NCLN teamed up with Campaign Life Coalition for a social media campaign to raise awareness of the anniversary and of the opposition of today’s youth to the status quo on abortion. The#SurvivedMorgentalercampaign resonated with students and other young Canadians and reached thousands of people via social media.
NCLN took an active part in the#No2Niki social media campaign, after MP Niki Ashton introduced a motion that would declare that access to abortion is a “fundamental question of equality and human rights, both in Canada and around the world.” Through videos, Twitter, and many letters to politicians, the campaign gained traction. The NDP did not end up putting the motion to a vote after all.
Students participated in their local March for Life, as well as dinners hosted by NCLN in Victoria and Ottawa. NCLN staff in Ottawa performed a parody about clubs based on the movie Frozen. Even those unable to attend in person were able to support the March through social media, as part of the #WhyWeMarch campaign.
NCLN’s first ever Summer Semesterengaged students in B.C. and Ontario in training and activism through the summer months. This also included the popular #CommodityCulture events, featuring presentations on the linkages between abortion, pornography, and rape culture on Canadian campuses.
The 2014 Symposium motivated students to become a generation of patriots as students were encouraged to build their pro-life leadership skills and move our culture from one of apathy to action.
Abortion Debates, coordinated with NCLN, attracted students across Canada. In Ontario students hosted debates between Maaike Rosendal of CCBR and a late-term abortionists. In B.C. debates between Stephanie Gray and pro-choice opponents even garnered international attention thanks to protesters trying to shut down the debate at the University of Victoria.
Our staff and board at NCLN are looking forward to what 2015 will bring!