On March 19, hundreds of people gathered outside the last remaining abortion clinic in Missouri to participate in March on the Arch, the greater St. Louis region’s annual march in support of the sanctity of life.
Hosted by Coalition Life (formerly St. Louis Coalition for Life), the event began with a rally at the Planned Parenthood facility on the corner of N. Boyle Avenue and Forest Park Avenue in St. Louis. Following the rally, participants marched a four-mile route up Laclede Avenue and Market Street, ending at Laclede’s Landing on the Mississippi River near the Arch grounds. This year, the march was led by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), and LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison was a featured speaker and provided the rally’s closing prayer.
One of the marchers, the Rev. Dr. Jason Wagner, said he took part because such opportunities are a source of encouragement in the continuing effort to defend and protect all life. Wagner, who serves as Life Coordinator for the LCMS Missouri District, noted that participants in life marches typically come from many different backgrounds, both secular and religious, to unite around this common cause. It’s important, he said, for the LCMS to be represented at such events because the church brings a unique message about “the hope that is ours in Christ. … We not only want to speak about protecting life but also sharing the hope of life eternal in Jesus.”
Earlier in the day, that hope was shared during a Matins service at the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus on the campus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. About 150 people gathered, pre-march, to hear God’s Word and pray for an end to all that cheapens and despises God’s gift of life. Preaching during the service, Harrison said, “Joy over life leaps from every page of the Bible. … God has grabbed hold of us in Christ. We cannot [help] but care about the innocent, the unloved, the least. … One has died for all. …. The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all our sins. Each child from conception is worthy of the blood of Jesus.”
Renee Gibbs, a member of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in St. Louis, said it was important to worship before marching because doing so helped maintain the proper focus. “It’s nice to be with other Christians,” Gibbs said. “Rather than starting with political or social things, we start at the beginning with Christ — together … joyful at the life we have in Him.”
Nathan Decker, a member of Ascension Lutheran Church in St. Louis, agreed.
“The Lord calls us to many tasks in our life,” Decker said, “and one of them is to be not of the world, but … a part of it still. There is so much to do, not just to spread our faith, but to serve for the good of others around us. In this case … we see so many children losing their lives to [abortion], and we are here to stand up for what’s right and to pray … for better. We are feet on the ground to do what we can.”
Deaconess Dr. Tiffany Manor, director of LCMS Life Ministry, estimated that between the service, rally and march, close to 300 LCMS Lutherans took part in the day’s events.
“The collaboration between the Missouri District, the Southern Illinois District Advocates for Life, and the Concordia Seminary Life Team resulted in a meaningful day for Lutherans who came from several Midwestern states to participate in the March on the Arch,” Manor said. “I give thanks to God for them and the other LCMS Life Ministry leaders who organize participation in many marches and walks around the country all year long. Through these events, we speak up for the value God gives all human life and confess our faith that Christ alone is the way, the truth and the life [John 14:].”
To support the continued work of LCMS Life Ministry, please consider donating:
- Via text (send keyword LCMSLife to 41444);
- By phone at 888-930-4438, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. DST; or
- By check (make payable to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and write “for Life Ministry” on the memo line).
Posted March 31, 2022