Thanks to you, we’ve been busy! For years we’ve hosted an annual national conference. These events gather life‐minded brothers and sisters in Christ for affordable fellowship, celebration, worship, and a wealth of expert educational sessions about the sanctity of life in the distinctively Lutheran spirit. Feedback from folks across the nation, however, helped us to understand that many who would like to participate simply were unable to attend as a result of the traveling distance. In order to provide more conference opportunities for interested individuals across the entire country, we decided two years ago to begin a rotating schedule of offering several regional conferences one year alternating with one national conference the next year. We saw such enthusiastic reception of our first four regional conferences in 2017 that this year we’re partnering with local congregations to feature six! Our first two have proven immensely fruitful, with over 130 attendees (and nearly $5,000 in generous offerings) at Living Word in Grapevine, Texas (March 23), and Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Michigan (April 27). Four more remain, including Baltimore, Denver, Rochester (Minnesota), and San Francisco!
Mrs. Michelle Bauman has accepted the divine call to serve as our next Y4Life director. She was installed at our June 28 leadership retreat. Michelle is wife to Pastor Doug Bauman of Seymour, Indiana, and mother to Nathaniel and Simeon. She taught English in Lutheran middle school and high school for 22 years prior to joining our team. (She has also served as director of recruitment, director of drama activities, and coordinator of international travel.) She is succeeding our beloved Laura (Davis) Hemminger, whom God has promoted to the vocations of wife and mother this past year. (Laura and Mike’s baby is due in late September.) Laura began with LFL as a member of our board of directors before coming on staff to implement the Y4Life program and orchestrate its very successful nationwide activities and growth for the past seven years. We will dearly miss Laura’s energetic and creative leadership, and we eagerly look forward to benefitting from Michelle’s insight and expertise.
We’ve enjoyed the company of student Lutherans all summer long. In addition to our spring campus life leadership institute, Laura, Michelle, and I (along with Jeri and Kim from the national office) have attended several Lutheran youth gatherings. Our display tables at the Free Lutheran Youth Convention (Estes Park, Colorado), the LCMS National Youth Gathering (Minneapolis, Minnesota), and Higher Things conferences in Chicago and Los Angeles facilitated constant and vibrant conversations. Our supplies of educational resources have run out in every location, and our educational sessions have seen such abundant participation that attendees had to be turned away!
We also found our exhibit very popular at the LWML Convention in Mobile, Alabama. The good ladies there kept Deaconess Chrissie Gillet (our Word of Hope director), Michelle, Laura, and me talking nonstop. We gave away all the literature we brought there as well. (Very little remained after the very first day!) Many, many individuals shared stories of preemies and miscarriages as well as pictures of gestating grandkids, and all earnestly thanked us for our presence and witness. They also voted to fund a $30,000 grant for us to develop more digital content that can share the Gospel message of life’s sanctity across the internet and social media (in addition to the $70,000 LWML districts awarded Word of Hope last year)!
Visitors also expressed their appreciation at the LCMS Convention in Tampa, Florida. Deaconess Rachel Geraci (our mission and ministry director) and I had a variety of opportunities to share about our ministry and message with individuals who hadn’t heard. Once again, they depleted our shipment of booklets and brochures, and several invited us to present at their congregations. In addition, the convention adopted Resolution 3-02A (by a stirring 98% vote of 951-19!) which stated, “That we commend the LCMS Life Ministry and Lutherans For Life for their work in advocating for the life, dignity, and health of all people from conception to natural death, particularly mothers, unborn children, those who are physically and/or mentally challenged, those who are gravely ill, and those who are dying.”
And there’s more! In June, we were at the Issues, Etc. Conference in Chicago in June and the NALC Convocation in Indianapolis (850 attendees). In late September, we plan to be at the LCMC Annual Gathering in Omaha—usually around 1,000 attendees.
We have also had a very positive response to our Petition For Life. Find out more and sign the petition here.
So far since January we’ve welcomed seven new volunteer communities to our nationwide network. More than 150 Life Chapters and Life Teams function as our “Frontlines” in local and interpersonal settings. They proclaim and perform in crucial heart-to-heart contexts how precious the Gospel makes every human life. We rejoice with Trinity in Elkhart, Indiana; Our Savior in Hartland, Michigan; Chapel of the Cross in St. Louis, Missouri; Christ Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri; and St. Paul’s in West Falls, New York, who have trained and commissioned Life Teams. We also celebrate Greater Topeka Life Chapter (Topeka, Kansas) and Flint Hills Life Chapter (Manhattan, Kansas).
Your support, encouragement, and fellowship have made all this possible. And so much more is coming! For example, we’ll present at the Southern California Defending Life Conference in September with Abby Johnson (www.defendinglifeconference.org), we’ll connect with thousands of educators at the October Lutheran Education Association Convocation in St. Louis, and we’ll raise our Gospel-motivated voices For Life at the January March For Life and Expo in Washington, D.C.
Thank you for helping us change hearts, save lives, and reach over 200,000 people in 2019!