On a rainy Wednesday morning, approximately 5,000 people gathered in front of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing to demonstrate their unwavering support for life at all stages.
The Michigan March for Life took place on November 8. Many Michigan District pastors (including two entire circuits), schools, and individuals were there, along with other non-Lutheran groups. There was a rally at 11 a.m. featuring several speakers, and the march began at noon. The rain held off for most of the rally and march, which was an answer to prayer.
The high number of youth present (high school students and youngsters) was a highlight for many, including Rev. Paul Clark, Pastor at St. Paul, Fowler and President of Lutherans for Life of Michigan. After the march, Clark said, “We think that everything went wonderfully. I could not be more pleased. Despite the weather, the turnout was awesome, the number of young people was phenomenal. It was so encouraging to see the number of young people who were at this rally and march. The speakers were great, the march itself was peaceful and well done and well organized.”
After the rally, all Lutherans were invited to a gathering at Hope, DeWitt, where they were served a delicious lunch and enjoyed fellowship. Rev. Tony Sikora, pastor at Hope, said, “I was glad to have a number of high schools and various churches and day schools and pastors participating in all of this, along with our own members and laity.” Over 200 people came to the gathering.
After the meal, participants heard an inspiring address by Rev. Michael Salemink, Executive Director of Lutherans for Life. He said, “Sanctity of life is not just a hobby. It’s not just a thing that we do, not even just a cause or a movement. We believe this is the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that God creates and redeems and calls every human being to be his own—precious, special, priceless—from fertilization to forever … Advocating for the sanctity of life is our purpose. This is why we are here. It’s what life is about and it’s what makes life magnificent.”
Salemink then encouraged participants to put their sanctity of life convictions into practice: “After today, I want you to be able to take the energy and enthusiasm that has been generated by gathering together with life-minded Lutherans from across the state, as well as other pro-life voices, and use that as a springboard.” Here are Salemink’s suggestions:
- Learn. There is a lot of misinformation related to abortion in our culture.
- Publicize. Tell a family member or a friend about the difference that the gospel of Christ makes to you and to our culture. Lutherans for Life has lots of resources you can share and point people to, including a prolific YouTube channel.
- Assess your own opportunities, your interests, and abilities and how those could benefit people who are facing life issues.
- Enjoy the blessings God has given you by building relationships with the people whom He has put into your life. Open conversations and relate to the people around you.
- Recognize God’s gifts. Rejoice in the blessings of life and family. Encourage your pastor.
- Engage. Network and organize with other life-affirming voices such as you have done at the march and rally.
- Donate. Lots of ministries could benefit from your generosity.
- Advocate. Get familiar with your local school board or library board or city council proceedings.
- Contact your state and federal representatives.
- Volunteer: sort donations or perform maintenance at the pregnancy resource center; sit and sing or play and pray with nursing home residents; prepare meals at a soup kitchen; stock shelves at a food pantry; provide childcare for a single mom or teenage parent.
Salemink concluded saying “There are so many different ways in which you can put the sanctity of life into practice, and I want you to think of them not just as responsibilities, but as opportunities. After all, this is what makes life magnificent and why we’re here to share in the joy that God himself has in receiving every neighbor as a gift and a privilege.”
For more photos, see the album in our Facebook page.
Photos by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS