Fr John Parker is the pastor of Holy Ascension Orthodox Church in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina, and the Chair of the Department of Evangelization of the Orthodox Church in America. He graduated the College of William and Mary (1993) with a major in Spanish and a minor in German. He earned his MDiv at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA. After being received into the Orthodox Church, he earned an MTh at St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, where is also currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program. He has been a frequent writer for Charleston, SC's Post and Courier. He and Matushka Jeanette celebrated 20 years of marriage in April 2014, and have two sons nearing High School graduation.
One of the greatest neglects of those who defend the Sanctity of Life from its most rudimentary beginning to natural death is putting that belief into tangible, positive action. Countless scores of those of us who fight tooth and nail with word and placard fall terribly short when it comes to the actions necessary to support those who, for various reasons, find themselves pregnant and alone. I do not exclude myself from this list.
However, the Goodness and Providence of God will never allow me, or any Christian who is convicted by the earliest Christian beliefs, to condone, applaud, approve of, or support abortion. God alone is the author and bestower of life. To contribute to the death of any human person, however microscopic or aged, is directly contrary to the will and nature of God. It is likewise contrary very specifically to the nature of woman. Woman, the only of the two genders of mankind gifted with a womb, is a living, breathing cradle of life by divine design and gift.
If, for these reasons and many others, we oppose abortion, it falls to us in this fallen world to do everything within our power to help those who are unwillingly pregnant to work through their trial and support life, turning one difficult situation into two joys, rather than stacking one tragedy onto another.
I personally applaud the Florence Crittenton Programs of South Carolina on St Margaret Street, in Charleston, SC, for their tireless efforts, night and day, for the 118 years since 1897, to offer a home to pregnant girls who are in a most precarious situation. Many of the young women there have suffered from and are pregnant through abuse. All of them have made the pro choice: to bear their children. Each of them, by the support of devoted staff, are well-fed, educated in child-rearing, taught valuable skills, and given a chance to bring a life into the world, in an effort to make two saints (mother and child) out of the sinful situations which brought them to this point. They are stronger and more courageous than most any of us who fiercely defend life with our words, but have never been in such a seemingly untenable situation.
There are many such homes and programs throughout our land. Today is a day to shine the light upon them–they are among the brightest of lights found in the darkest of hours. Tag them in the comments. Let us thank God for the life-affirming ministry that they offer.
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