The third annual NALC Life Conference was held on Thursday, Jan. 17, at Trinity Lutheran Church, in Warrenton, Va.
The event began with a free fellowship lunch followed by a talk by the Rev. Dr. Dennis Di Mauro, pastor of Trinity and chair of NALC Life Ministries, entitled “A Love for Life,” which showed how Christianity has been, and is now, a pro-life faith. The talk included quotes from great Christian thinkers including Basil, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Bonhoeffer and many others who spoke out in defense of life in the womb.
The second speaker was Mona Fuerstenau, a disability advocate for over 30 years. A retired speech pathologist, parent of two very diverse young adults, champion of the marginalized and a lifelong Lutheran, she brings vast experience to her current role as director of ministry partnerships for Bethesda Lutheran Communities. She views most of life through an asset-based community development lens and firmly believes that all people have unique and necessary gifts and talents to share. She also provided free resources for equipping ministries to be life affirming for those with disabilities.
The keynote speaker was Melissa Ohden, the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion. Believing she was less than five months pregnant with Melissa in 1977, her birthmother attempted to abort her. Miraculously, the abortion did not succeed in ending Melissa’s life. Melissa’s perspective as an abortion survivor who has had contact with numerous members of her biological family, and as a mother herself, highlighted the intergenerational impact of abortion on families and communities. She believes that God had a plan for her when He saved her from the certain death of the abortion attempt.
The conference concluded with worship led by the Rev. Chris Porter of Advent Lutheran Church in Winchester, Va., and Lebanon Lutheran Church in Lebanon Church, Va., and a powerful sermon delivered by the Rev. John Bradosky, NALC bishop.
The next day, participants headed to Washington, D.C., to participate in the National Prayer Service at DAR Constitution Hall. The service was led by the Rev. Mitch Pacwa of EWTN (Roman Catholic TV network) who spoke on how diligent work overturned the laws that allowed slavery in the 19th century, and the same could take place in the pro-life moment if we stand up for life.