Many mothers facing crisis pregnancies feel abandoned by their families, the fathers of their babies, and their communities. More and more, they are poor, in their teens, or homeless. Most feel alone and afraid and for too many, abortion seems the only answer.
Pro-life pregnancy centers, Birthright programs and maternity homes struggle to provide necessary support services, but budgets are limited and even the most enthusiastic volunteer assistance is not sufficient to meet the growing need. Church communities pray for mothers and their babies and for an end to the tragedy of abortion. They also provide spiritual guidance and loving pastoral care. Yet too many women and families remain unaware that any of these essential resources are even available.
Meanwhile, the abortion lobby and the media chant the accusation that pro-lifers care only about the unborn, not about mothers or life after birth.
Both churches and pro-life service groups have sought ways to expand their embrace of women in crisis pregnancies. Now there is a way they can do so together. This new initiative combines the power of prayer with a commitment to service. Church volunteers, called “Angels”, and service providers reach out together through The Gabriel Project / El Proyecto Gabriel to Moms in need of their caring love.
The Gabriel Project is an ever-growing, Christian-based network of church volunteers standing together in their commitment to offer assistance to women and families facing crisis pregnancies. The members of the church communities announce that they see in the creation of each baby a fresh expression of God’s unfailing love. Participating congregations “advertise” their commitment to life by placing a Gabriel “Sign of Life” in front of their church:
The sign with its toll-free hotlines assures every mother that the local church community cares for her and her family and that they are prepared to offer her immediate and practical help.
After listening with compassion to the caller, an initial assessment is made. The caller is then referred to the nearest participating church for personal follow-up and support.
They may also be connected with a pregnancy resource center for additional material support.
The role of each participating church is to meet with any mother referred to them for help, to pray with her and to assure her that Christ and their congregation love her and will help her. After identifying her fears, the church community simply responds in love by providing spiritual, emotional, and material support to help her meet her needs, Churches may at times choose to partner in supplying material needs.
For the many women who
are abandoned by their families at the time of a crisis pregnancy the church
community lovingly fills the void left by a missing family. Each congregation
develops its own unique response to the needs of the mothers under its care.
Churches in the Gabriel Project stand ready to provide a mother with the kinds
of assistance that she needs in caring for her unborn baby, such as:
* Friendship, emotional support and prayer,
* Babysitting and rides to appointments,
* Pastoral care and counseling,
* Resources for medical and prenatal care,
* Financial assistance resources and
* Resources for housing, education, adoption and employment.
Immensely successful in other areas of the country, The Gabriel Project is now being introduced across the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. This initiative comes after piloting the project for the Indianapolis Archdiocese in Columbus, Indiana in 1999.
The vision of this project
1) to fully involve several more church communities. (Forty churches participate as of June, 2006),
2) to augment the life-saving work of the crisis pregnancy centers, the maternity homes and the birthline programs and
3) to provide on-going emotional, spiritual, and material support to hundreds of women and families facing a crisis pregnancy.
Mothers experiencing a crisis pregnancy will not always seek help from agencies. However, even if they do not worship regularly, many mothers will turn to a church community that makes it known that they care and will help pregnant moms.
The involvement of many
churches is critical to the success of our outreach to mothers and families
in crisis pregnancies and church participation must be made easy. To this end,
overall project coordination, training and tollfree helplines (English and Spanish)
are shared among the involved Great Lakes states. More than anything else, Gabriel
Project churches embrace each mother who comes to them as their daughter, their
sister, and their friend.
We hope and pray that your church will be one of the many local churches now joining the Gabriel Project.
“The Angel Gabriel
was sent by God to Mary: “Rejoice! You enjoy God’s favor!
The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid. Nothing is impossible to God.” -Luke 1:26-37