2009 National Conference
Celebrating the Abundant Life in Saint Louis
Celebrating the Abundant Life was the theme as Lutherans gathered, July 24-25, 2009, from across the United States and Canada for the national conference of Lutherans For Life (LFL).
In her welcoming message to conference attendees, President Diane Schroeder said, “If you are like me, God has placed in your heart an urgent need to respond to the destruction of life in our country—whether it is abortion, euthanasia, [or] embryonic stem cell research … For you see, that calling that God has given you and me, that burning passion, is part of our abundant life … Talk to your pastor, contact your crisis pregnancy center, ask yourself what can I do? There is no task too small … God does not call us to victory, but to faithfulness ... May God give you perseverance, peace, and joy as you follow Him and walk in the abundant life He has given you.”
Bobby Schindler, executive director of the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation Center for Health Care Ethics (pictured with Diane Schroeder and Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb), gave the Friday night keynote address on the theme Remembering Terri Schiavo: My Family’s Battle to Save My Sister’s Life.
Mr. Schindler described the court-ordered starvation of his sister, Terri, in 2005, as something that “no brother, no family, no parents should ever have to witness.” Later he said it was the most “heinous, barbaric thing I’ve seen.” He said his sister could have “lived a normal life span if properly cared for and loved … there are tens of thousands of ‘Terris’ in our country today whose lives are just as vulnerable as hers was … [when] you devalue one life, you devalue all lives.”
He asked “what are we going to do to care for these people [the cognitively disabled]? We have two choices: We are either going to keep rationalizing/justifying why it’s okay to kill people with these types of disabilities or we are going to care and show them the love that they deserve.”
Saturday morning included plenary addresses from Rev. Don Wagner (pastor of Christ and Zion Lutheran Churches in Elbow Lake and Hoffman, Minnesota) on Celebrating the Abundant Life through a Living Hope; and Col. John Eidsmoe (member of the LFL board of directors and Legal Counsel for the Foundation for Moral Law) on Being Pro-Life in the Obama Era.
Workshops, led by Linda Bartlett, Col. John Eidsmoe, Professor Charles Ford, Renee Gibbs, Dr. Peter Greenspan, Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb, Rev. Russell Saltzman, Rev. Don Wagner, and Jennie Williamson, focused on following the Shepherd from the beginning of life to the end of life and through the trials of life in-between. Also on Saturday morning, a group of attendees held a sidewalk prayer vigil at a Saint Louis abortion clinic.
Dr. Lamb’s opening worship sermon theme was The Abundant Life based on John 10:1-11. He said a life of following the Shepherd is “not always easy. Sometimes our lives can get pretty dark … crisis pregnancies come into our families and to our lives and illness comes into our lives and death comes into our lives … and sometimes we wonder where the shepherd is … but the Good Shepherd comforts us with His rod and His staff … Our Good Shepherd gives us promise after promise after promise … ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ ‘I am with you always.’ ‘I go ahead of you.’ Promise after promise. And even though it seems like the Shepherd is not there in our lives, we trust in His promises and we know that He is … and someday He will lead us into His eternal dwelling where we will dwell with Him forever. And then, dear friends, the abundant life will truly be a life of abundance!”
Thank You to Thrivent Chapters
A special thank you to the following Thrivent Chapters that matched funds at the 2009 LFL Conference in Saint Louis.
- Westport St. Louis County Chapter 30668
- South St. Louis Chapter 30663
- Mid South St. Louis Chapter 30647
Kevin and Tawn B. of St. Louis wrote,
"What a wonderful opportunity to have the National Lutherans For Life Conference right in our town! Our family is so thankful to the Thrivent groups who pitched in to provide financial help for seminary families. During this extreme penny-pinching time it was such a relief to know that this, at least, was one thing we wouldn’t have to give up due to lack of funds. Thank you and may God continue to bless you to be a blessing!"