LFL conference underscores imminent sanctity-of-life issues

Virginia Flo, Lutherans For Life (LFL) regional director of Minnesota and national conference director, speaks with a conference participant during a break at the 2016 LFL National Conference at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington, Minn. (LCMS/Roger Drinnon)

Virginia Flo, left, Lutherans For Life (LFL) regional director of Minnesota and national conference director, speaks with a conference participant during a break at the 2016 LFL National Conference at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington, Minn. (LCMS/Roger Drinnon)

By Roger Drinnon

Some 210 pro-life Lutherans from across the United States and around the world banded together for the 2016 Lutherans For Life (LFL) National Conference at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington, Minn., Oct. 21-22.

Under the theme, “Here We Stand,” conference participants attended presentations on a range of topics relevant to current life issues, including updates on imminent legislation pertaining to assisted suicide.

The event occurred in proximity to some somber dates and developments pertaining to abortion and assisted suicide. Just prior to the conference, Planned Parenthood celebrated its 100th anniversary nationwide, Oct. 16. The organization remains the largest provider of abortions in the United States. Oct. 27 marked the 49th anniversary of the Abortion Act being signed into law in Great Britain and the beginning of legal abortion throughout the United Kingdom. Not long after the conference, Colorado became the sixth state in the U.S. to legalize euthanasia, joining Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California and Montana.

Despite these, conference participants were optimistic. Enthusiasm for protecting the unborn and for defending the sanctity of life seems to be growing amid increasing awareness of the practices of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and the importance of life from beginning to its natural end.

“The naysayers have tried to bury us many times, but the truth is that this great pro-life movement of which Lutherans For Life has been a part since the very beginning, this great movement is alive and well and growing,” said Dr. Jean Garton, co-founder and first president of LFL.

Dr. Sheila Page, a specialist in neuromusculoskeletal medicine and osteopathic manipulative therapy, speaks to conference members about patients who chose life versus assisted suicide while dealing with terminal illness. In her vocation, Page treats a wide spectrum of patients from newborn to the elderly, including those with irreversible and terminal conditions. (LCMS/Roger Drinnon)

Dr. Sheila Page, a specialist in neuromusculoskeletal medicine and osteopathic manipulative therapy, speaks to conference members about patients who chose life versus assisted suicide while dealing with terminal illness. In her vocation, Page treats a wide spectrum of patients from newborn to the elderly, including those with irreversible and terminal conditions. (LCMS/Roger Drinnon)

Garton said over the years, she has seen support for the pro-life movement rise and fall, but these days support is very high, especially among younger people. During the conference, she was presented with the Dominus Vitae award given by LFL to a Lutheran who has made notable contributions to the pro-life movement.

Some conference members applauded a new campaign from LCMS Life Ministry, “Eyes of Life,” on display during the conference. Through the initiative (eyesoflife.org), individual members of the Synod share personal stories showing the importance of each human life.

“It was clear that at the Lutherans For Life Conference that everyone had a story, stories of life and joy, and some stories of life, death, pain, forgiveness and healing,” said Hilary Murray, LFL mission and ministry director. “Similar to Lutherans For Life’s mission, Eyes of Life states, ‘It is easy to get bogged down in what we are against, but with eyes of life, we rejoice in what we are for: God’s grace and mercy, Christ’s forgiveness and love, the Holy Spirit’s direction and nurturing and life.’ Everyone has a story.”

The conference precedes other important life-related events, including the 2017 National March for Life, Jan. 27 in Washington, D.C., and related regional marches across the nation.

The LCMS delegation will march under the theme of the Synod’s Eyes of Life campaign. To join the delegation and receive updates on details of the march, call the LCMS Church Information Center at 888-843-5267 (888-THE LCMS), or email infocenter@lcms.org.

The 2017 LCMS Life Conference will be held Jan. 27-29 at the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel in Arlington, Va. For more information and to register, click here.

Roger Drinnon (roger.drinnon@lcms.orgis director of Editorial Services and Media Relations for LCMS Communications.

Posted November 17, 2016

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