Just like any other everyday hero, the quartet of life-savers honored as Servant Leaders at the 2013 Heartbeat International Annual Conference quietly go about their business with no expectation of being celebrated this side of heaven.
It came as no surprise, then, when the first winner—Becky Coggin Hyde—stood speechless, even flabbergasted, as Heartbeat President Dr. Peggy Hartshorn, PhD, announced the Arlington (TX) Pregnancy Centers director as the first of four recipients for Heartbeat’s most prestigious award.
Becky was joined by Beverly Kline, Ann Carruth, and Amy Jones, while Mary K. Tiller was tabbed as the inaugural “Heart of the Future Award” honoree for emerging leaders in the pregnancy help movement.
A native of Memphis, Tenn., Becky became Director of Arlington Pregnancy Centers in 1987, and has served in that capacity ever since. In her 26 years, Becky has expanded the center—now called Arlington/Mansfield Pregnancy Centers—to four locations, along with a resale store that funds much of the ministry.
“Becky’s leadership skills are excellent,” one of her co-workers said. “When the Lord lays something on her heart and there is unanimous agreement with the Board, she moves expediently. She waits on the Lord, and she doesn’t move until she is sure He is in the midst of whatever project presents itself.”
Another of the award winners laboring in Texas, Beverly Kline, founded Living Alternatives in 1982 and still serves as executive director for the ministry that has served women and families with everything from pregnancy tests and living accommodations to life-skills training and adoption services in its 31-year history.
Originally based in Beverly’s one-bedroom apartment in Tyler, Texas, Living Alternatives now includes a pregnancy resource center, a resale ministry for teen foster girls (“Keeps Boutique”), a maternity home, and an adoption agency.
The third Texan recognized as a Heartbeat Servant Leader at her home-state Conference was Dallas-based Council for Life Founder Emeritus Ann Carruth.
One of 11 original founders of what was then known as Pregnancy Resource Council in 2001, Ms. Carruth’s vision to support a local pregnancy center began with a single banquet called “Celebrities Celebrating Life,” and has since raised $3.3 million.
Council for Life, who has partnered financially with Heartbeat, began a national affiliate program in 2011, encouraging other major pro-life donors in U.S. cities to unite for the cause of Life.
Amy Jones currently serves as Director of Servants for Life, an international ministry based out of Raleigh, North Carolina, which offers mentoring, coaching, counseling, and training to ministry leaders and boards. She began her life in ministry as a high schooler serving with Youth for Christ, and spent 22 years leading Christian Life Home, a housing ministry for young, pregnant girls.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship and as a consultant with Heartbeat International.
The founder and executive director for Expectant Heart Pregnancy Resource Center in Longview, Texas, Mary K. Tiller was given the first Heart of the Future award for younger leaders stepping into key roles in local pregnancy help organizations across the globe.
Mary K., who holds a master’s degree in Human Services, Marriage and Family from Liberty University, founded Expectant Heart in 2011, and the center began serving clients in November of 2012.
“Mary K. represents what a next-generation leader should be,” Heartbeat Director of Ministry Services Betty McDowell, LAS, said. “We have witnessed firsthand that she is a servant leader and a learner, and because of that, it has been our delight to work with her.”
To view all Heartbeat Servant Leader award recipients, click here.
We serve the Giver of Life, and He Reigns.
Nothing, including political climates, cultural shifts, or even the unspeakable worldwide tragedy of abortion, can dethrone the God whose glory is set above the heavens.
This precious truth was woven throughout every aspect of the 2013 Annual Heartbeat International Conference, which included close to 1,000 friends of Heartbeat, including attendees, exhibitors, expert workshop presenters, inspiring keynote speakers, Heartbeat board members, and donors.
Fittingly, the centrality of prayer emerged as a major theme throughout the Conference, as 40 Days for Life National Director David Bereit helped set the tone for desperate dependence upon the living God as the keynote speaker during the Conference’s first evening session.
David was one of eight keynote speakers throughout the four-day event, which concluded with a closing banquet and address from Heartbeat International President Dr. Peggy Hartshorn, who is commemorating her 20th year of tireless service in that capacity, and her 40th year of active involvement in the pro-life movement.
Opportunities for prayer and worship were led in part by worship leader Greg Gober, while opportunities to participate in mass were led by Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, who also keynoted at the Conference.
Conference participants were also given the opportunity to receive prayer during their time in Dallas, thanks to the generous involvement of Refuge House of Prayer and Breath of the Spirit, who volunteered their time to encourage and refresh those on the front-lines of the battle for Life.
The glorious truth that God reigns carries along with it global implications, and this was also reflected at the Conference, where a total of 20 representatives from 11 non-U.S. countries gathered.
These friends served as a great reminder that God’s reign extends to all corners of the world—from the U.S. to Zambia, Australia to South Africa, Mexico to the Philippines, Costa Rica to Austria, Canada to Liberia, and from Germany to Ethiopia.
And these friends were just a sampling of the more than 300 Heartbeat affiliates outside of the United States in over 50 countries. Two of these friends, Pastors George and Sylvester from Liberia, shared an African proverb that became a theme unto itself for the Conference:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
We hope you join us at next year’s Annual Conference, March 24-27 in Charleston, South Carolina!
by Jay Hobbs, Communications Assistant
On a brisk January afternoon, I found myself positioned between two citadels of American government.
On my right sat the Capitol Building, where I’d spent the morning with Heartbeat International’s Babies Go to Congress®. On my left stood the U.S. Supreme Court Building, where the 40th Annual March for Life would conclude the following day.
As I turned my gaze to the Supreme Court building, I expected to behold its looming columns and take in its hopeful, enduring motto, “Equal Justice Under Law.”
But what I saw surprised me. The majestic façade was covered with scaffolding and a transparent construction curtain. As I learned, the great marble-work of the building’s façade had been crumbling for some time, and renovation was now underway.
What a striking parable of justice, deteriorating. Yet, at the same time, what a striking parable of hope that justice can be—and one day will be—restored.
We live in a world that is plagued with the consequences of a decision made in that very building 40 years ago. When those inside this shrine to American justice decided, 7-2, to legalize abortion on-demand, justice crumbled.
Such a miscarriage of justice under the auspices of “Equal Justice Under Law” must never be forgotten. That’s why Heartbeat launched RememberingRoe.com, which serves as an online memorial to those 55 million unborn Americans who will never see the light of day because of Roe v. Wade.
A few hours before my stroll to the Supreme Court steps, I had the pleasure of watching Matennah—one of three moms who made up the Babies Go to Congress envoy—tell seven of her congressmen the story of how her beautiful twin daughters had been rescued by a Heartbeat-affiliated pregnancy help center.
Twenty-four hours later, the 40th annual March for Life brought 500,000 peaceful protesters to these stately steps. Heartbeat International was there, represented by a group of generous supporters and the sampling of moms, like Matennah, and their babies who have been saved from the violence of abortion.
Following the March, Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., President of Heartbeat International, keynoted the annual Rose Dinner, highlighting the good work pregnancy help organizations to do for women and families. Peggy was followed by New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, chair of the Pro-Life Caucus, who delivered a ringing endorsement of Heartbeat and our life-saving mission.
No doubt, justice has drastically crumbled. But just like the façade of the Supreme Court building, it can be restored.
I was reading through Proverbs when news of the Penn State child abuse scandal broke in late 2011. As the horrific story dominated every inch of the public square, one saying from the wise man stood out most clearly to me:
Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Proverbs 24:11-12)
I was so sickened by what I was seeing and hearing about everything, from the grisly details of the events that had occurred—and were even witnessed—to the shameful cover-ups collaborated by football coaches, school administrators, and even sworn officers of the law.
Having worked in collegiate athletics for nearly 10 years, these acts of negligence hit me with a specific force, but no harder than they hit me as a father. I felt anger, disgust, nausea, and helplessness.
But what good would come if all I did was feel these things, and then let them fade away so that I could go on with the rest of my life? Did the sting of this outrage belong in the rear-view mirror?
While my 1-year-old daughter napped one Saturday afternoon, I began to pray that somehow, some way, God would lead me to a calling and vocation where I could play a role in the rescue of those being taken away to death. I prayed, and less than a year later, God—the true and final Rescuer—brought me an opportunity to do just that, with an organization I’d never heard of, called Heartbeat International.
Today, I am so blessed to be playing a role in the effort to hold back “those stumbling to the slaughter.” Most of you who are reading this are in the trenches right now, fighting this battle one life at a time. Some of you have been in this trench longer than I’ve been on this earth.
What an honor it has been to join with you in the battle to hold each life precious.
Together, we hope and pray and labor for the day when abortion is not only unwanted, but unthinkable in our nation, our legal system, and our culture. At the same time, we also realize that abortion may not be going away this side of heaven. In one form or another, the strong will always victimize the weak, right up until the Day when the Judge of the whole earth makes all things right.
Until that Day dawns, our orders are clear: We are to rescue those who are being taken away to death. One child at a time. One woman at a time. One family at a time.
It’s not up to you and me to finally solve these evils. It’s up to each of us to be faithful to do our part, in hope—hope that one Day, we will see these evils ended before our very eyes. Until that Day comes, we’re free to focus on the task at hand without driving ourselves to despair or exhaustion.
The problem is more than you and I could ever handle, and yet, it has already been handled—fully and finally by the death and resurrection of Jesus. We enter into that promise by faith, but it's that same faith that also thrusts us into the vineyard to labor for that which our faithful Savior values.
Take heart. God, the one who “keeps watch over your soul” sees the good work you’re doing. And, he will repay you according to it.
Jor-El Godsey, Vice President
When you take into account all those who have been wounded by this “choice”, it becomes even harder to find something positive—let alone to allow ourselves to think we’re winning.
But, before we throw our hands up and walk away, let’s consider two things that can give us at least a hint that, yes, we are winning.
First, the nearly 1,400 Heartbeat affiliates worldwide directly serve 1,000,000 moms, dads and babies every year. That’s direct service, not estimated impact. Think about it: If the pregnancy help community threw in the towel, countless additional lives would be added to the toll of dead and wounded on account of abortion.
Second, and more importantly, such discussions draw us to envision a time when no abortions are happening. We long for that day. We pray for that eventuality to come about. We hope to see the realization of that dream.
Many pro-lifers give their time and attention to achieve that BIG victory over abortion, by utilizing the political and legislative resources available to us. This is a necessary and worthy goal. But, until that happens, we can—and must—win ONE victory.
That ONE victory involves the mom and baby we will see today, in our centers, in our maternity homes. That’s what we do: We win one victory, one heart, one life at a time.
So take heart. We win every day we step into someone’s life and prevent the tragedy, the loss, and the violence of abortion they are otherwise headed for.
Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was the first circuit court to rule on government mandates requiring pregnancy centers to post disclaimers and disclosures, declaring that such mandates violate freedom of speech, a constitutional right.
“The Fourth Circuit Court’s decision is a victory for Centro Tepeyac and other Heartbeat International affiliated pregnancy help centers that are rescuing children who were once at risk of abortion by providing practical help and emotional support to mothers who often have been abandoned and abused,” said Heartbeat International President Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D. “This decision upholding our freedom of speech affirms the life-saving work of pregnancy centers and the importance of providing alternatives to abortion.”
The first case ruled upon by the court was Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery County; Montgomery County Council, et al, No. 11-1314 (4th Cir. 6/27/2012) in which the county passed a resolution requiring limited service pregnancy centers to display a sign bearing two statements: “The Center does not have a licensed medical professional on staff. Montgomery County Health Officer encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed health care provider.”
The second case, Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns et al v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, et al, No. 11-1111 (4th Cir. 6/27/2012) originated from Baltimore, which involved a city ordinance mandating pregnancy help organizations to post signage in two languages that “the center does not perform or refer for abortions or birth control services.”
The Fourth Circuit Court slapped down both government mandates as violations of free speech, applying strict scrutiny to its analysis of both laws.
The Court applied the same reasoning to both laws:
These rulings signal a strong victory for pregnancy help organizations, not only in Maryland, but across the country, as challenges are raised to similar attempts in other jurisdictions.
By Virginia Cline
I remember my father’s tears on January 22, 1973. It was the first time I had ever seen him cry.
I was 11 years old when I found him crumpled up on the stairs, shuddering, with his folded hands pressed to his face as he sobbed. I will never forget how he was curled up in the fetal position as he wept. It took him no less than 10 minutes to choke out the fact that seven men on the U.S. Supreme Court had decided it should be legal for a mother to abort her baby.
On that particularly bleak Monday afternoon, he cried for the millions of babies he knew would die at the hand of Roe v. Wade.
How could we fail to acknowledge the more than 54 million children aborted in the United States alone since the insidious Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22, 1973—the most tragic and unforgettable date in U.S. history?
Since the upcoming presidential inauguration is planned for Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, the 40th annual March for Life was moved to Friday, Jan. 25, leaving the anniversary itself without acknowledgement. Heartbeat International and at least 10 other partnering pro-life organizations—including March for Life—did not want the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade to pass by without a national day of prayer and fasting, so RememberingRoe.com was launched.
RememberingRoe.com promotes a day of remembrance and hosts a variety of interactive tools and includes an opportunity to sign up for a national hour of prayer via webcast, led by the National Pro-life Religious Council on Jan. 22, 2013, beginning at 3 p.m. EST.
The site is also the vehicle for a national campaign that seeks to send 1.2 million red pro-life postcards to the president in honor of the 1.2 million victims of abortion in the U.S. each year. For a small donation, visitors can sign up for a red card—personalized with their name—to be delivered to the White House on Jan. 22, 2013, sending the leader of the free world a positive message about the sanctity of every human life from those he represents.
Forty years of destroying life in the womb is the battle that defines our society. The false “choice” of aborting a child has endangered our very civilization by attacking the dignity of human life and by denigrating motherhood. The escalating evil of abortion calls for a supernatural response, and so we challenge every pro-life individual to kneel together as one nation under God, and call upon Him as we remember, reflect, repent and plead for restoration on the anniversary of this disastrous turning point.
Prayer is the strongest weapon against the evil that is abortion. Our hope is that members of the pro-life movement call upon God—the Giver of Life—in prayer and fasting together as we fight for the sanctity of life in America. As the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade approaches, visitors are encouraged to post prayers on RememberingRoe.com, leading to greater unity among members of the pro-life community.
There’s also a place at the site to share your story of how you first heard about Roe v. Wade. Some of us are old enough to remember exactly where we were when we learned about the now-infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision. Those born after Roe—rightly called “abortion survivors”—are also invited to share reflections on when and how they learned that the Supreme Court had declared it a “right” for every woman to choose to abort her baby.
My pro-life passion was ignited Jan. 22, 1973, after witnessing my father’s heartbreak and hearing his cries: “I could have done more. I should have done more to stop abortion.”
Imagine if our stories listed online at RememberingRoe.com inspired Christians everywhere to do more to help each mother reject the “choice” to abort her child!
The goal of RememberingRoe.com—and the goal of Heartbeat International—is to make abortion unwanted now and unthinkable for future generations. The Holy Spirit has the power to kindle the fire of compassionate love within us, so that the pro-life movement can renew the face of the earth for LIFE. Let us unite so that we may never forget.
For a listing of Pregnancy Help Centers, see the Worldwide Directory--an online directory of life affirming service providers around the world.
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