These new attitudes are widespread,
he says. He sees them as a sign society
is changing – and changing in a way the
Christian Church and its related institu-
tions are naturally poised to lead. “That’s
what we [Christians] are supposed to be:
If we would take the principles Jesus
espoused, says Fritzler, “both in what He
said and what He did – and practise them,
our world would be changed. Christ val-
ued every aspect of humanity, especially
those who were denigrated.”
A new activism on the part of today’s
Christian young adults – there are thou-
sands who join the annual March for
Life event in Ottawa each May (www.
campaignlifecoalition.com) – and a new
compassion even among non-Christians
herald major social change, he says.
Dan Reilly is an assistant clinical professor
in the department of obstetrics and gyne-
cology at Hamilton’s McMaster University
medical school. And like Fritzler, he says
his Christian faith informs his pro-life phil-
osophy. “I recognize that all people at all
levels of development have intrinsic value
and have been made in the image of God,”
he says. “No person or circumstance can
change the fact that to
God we have great value.”
Reilly thinks science
will never produce evi-
dence that will bring
people into the pro-life
camp. “The moral status
of the fetus is established
within a worldview rather
than from experience or
Instead Reilly remains
hopeful for the pro-life
movement in the same
way as Fritzler. He views
the two sides of the abortion debate as in
a decades-long stalemate, and finds his
optimism in young people who are less
interested in protest than in being helpful.
“I think personal influence is a better
strategy,” he says – better than looking to
science or even to the courts to bolster the
“Let’s help people re-engage this matter. Let’s have conversations with people,
And let’s continue to develop and support
pregnancy care centres across Canada,”
a phenomenon he believes could eventually change the moral fabric of Canadian
Pregnancy Care Centres
A small town girl, Lorna Sewell (now 58)
became pregnant in 1978 when she was
16. Sewell’s experience was one of disenfranchisement, isolation, shame and
“I remember lying in our rumpus
room, and I had an out-of-body experi-
ence. I could see myself down there, dev-
astated. It was brutal. Looking back, I feel
so bad for that girl.”
Her son was given up for adoption
shortly after birth. “There was no conver-
sation about my choices,” she says. And
then it became a tightly guarded secret.
Sewell only recently told her siblings – two
of whom were pregnant at the same time.
Sewell eventually became connected
with the Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre
after a presentation at her church, and she
signed up to train to be a volunteer and
peer mentor. A musician, she recently or-
ganized a concert in support of the centre.
“If I’d had anything even remotely
similar to what is of-
fered at the Pregnancy
Care Centre, I would
have been so much bet-
ter prepared for what
happened to me. I had
no prenatal care. No in-
formation was offered.
Nothing. My life would
have been so different.
Secrecy is poison to the
soul,” she says.
Jutta Wittmeier is the
director of the Calgary
Pregnancy Care Centre.
“Unresolved grief impacts choices. Grief
bleeds into everyday life. It impacts society.
It impacts the Church. It’s shame based. It’s
guilt ridden,” she says.
One service offered at the bustling cen-
tre with 10 full time staff and 150 volun-
teers involves “helping men and women
recover from the unresolved, disenfran-
chised grief that is the unexpected result
The centre provides services to 850
visitors annually, including crisis preg-
nancy counselling, a 24-hour help line, sex
education, support groups, maternity and
baby resources, peer counselling, prenatal
classes, referrals to community agencies,
and parenting classes.
“Change comes after months and years
of support. We believe in walking with our
clients, many of whom are abortion-vul-nerable,” says Wittmeier.
“When we support women, we see
lives change. We see life better for them,
and we see life better for their children.
We see them move forward in healthy
ways. When we take women through a
grief journey, we see them come out the
other side as changed people. There are
layers and layers of people carrying this
pain,” says Wittmeier. “This has to impact
us as a society.”
Compassion Brings Changes
Bruce Clemenger, president of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), has
been involved in Christian activism for al-
A new activism on
the part of today’s
adults and a
MAY 28, Kelowna, BC
MAY 29, Regina, SK
JUNE 10, Thunder Bay, ON
JUNE 11, St. Catharines, ON
JUNE 12, St. John’s, NL
JUNE 13, Summerside, PE
Doing Church Differently
Christian author and activist Shane
Claiborne explores how the Church
can bring some of Heaven to Canada,
becoming a “Holy Counter Culture”
and influencing our neighbourhoods
by dreaming big and living small.
Afternoon leaders forum and public
evening events in select cities.