By: Deacon Georgette Forney
I’m one of those people who tries to imagine every possible thing that can go wrong when I am planning an event. So, planning for the Life SUMMIT 2022 created fertile ground for my imagination to anticipate a variety of potential problems and crises.
Shortly after the new year, while I was praying for the SUMMIT and worrying about speakers canceling, this idea came to me – if a speaker cancels at the last minute, I would do an informal question and answer session to cover the time! I thought that was a solid plan B! Then, as I started worrying about multiple cancellations, I heard this phrase: imagine Me in every moment with you. I jotted it down in my journal and began to invite Jesus into all the places my imagination was taking me, as it related to the five events I was responsible for planning and organizing around the Life SUMMIT and March for Life.
While my head believes that Jesus is always with us, this directive to intentionally include Jesus in every scenario captured my heart, and I had peace as I invited Him into all my anticipated challenges. Given the number of challenges that did come up, this directive reminded me that I could trust that Jesus was in every moment with me, whether things were going according to plan or not.
That was important, because the Tuesday afternoon prior to the week of SUMMIT events brought news that two of our speakers couldn’t travel due to COVID, but both speakers were able to record their presentations. Two days later one of our staff members had to cancel her trip with us, and over the weekend our preacher for Friday’s worship service canceled due to a death in his family. On Monday of SUMMIT week, Sammie had to cancel as her daughter had COVID, and on Wednesday, another speaker called the office to say she had COVID and was obviously too sick for me to even ask her to record her presentation.
In addition to the challenges with the Life SUMMIT plans, we had multiple last-minute cancellations from about half of the women who were scheduled to participate in the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. COVID, weather, and sick family members kept the phone ringing with last minute changes.
One more speaker, who was to co-present on adoption canceled Friday evening before Saturday’s Life SUMMIT, because his child had a fever, and he was concerned it could be COVID! Graciously, his co-presenter agreed she could do the presentation alone.
While there were clearly multiple times when I could have panicked or freaked out over the ever-changing situation, God’s peace kept me calm and at times laughing at how many times we managed to pivot from original plans to God’s best plan. I can look back now over those three days and five events and see He was with me and that everything was exactly how He had planned it to be.
One young woman who had previously attended the ySUMMIT as a student returned this year, as a youth leader!
An AFL Chapter Leader relayed this to me:
“I got a report from a mom of a teenager who attended the March and apparently participated in the activities AFL provided. She said everything was outstanding and well done, such high quality! She learned so much and came home energized. I think we had about fifteen adults and kids go from St. Clements in El Paso, Texas. The mom, who is a twenty year Cru missionary, confessed that she had doubts about sending kids on such an expensive trip. But she was convinced that it had all been worthwhile.”
Bishop Clark Lowenfield preached a wonderful sermon Friday morning. The theme of his sermon was about the importance of getting out of our comfort zones to stand for life. This mantra was echoed numerous times by our speakers on Saturday.
The Silent No More Awareness Campaign had one couple, two men, and ten women give testimony in front of the Supreme Court, with a special contingency of women from Puerto Rico sharing in Spanish. After warming up back at the hotel, we were able to host a de-briefing, where everyone shared what their experiences meant to them. This sacred time was highlighted as we prayed for one another and those who still need to know the healing and forgiveness that is available through Jesus.
We employed Plan B, and utilized the informal question and answer session at the Life SUMMIT on Saturday. This worked perfectly because questions were raised pertaining to a few speaker’s topics.
All in all, as I look back over the last couple of months, I am in awe of God’s goodness and faithfulness to Anglicans For Life, the staff, and me. Not only was it helpful to imagine Jesus with me, but as the events unfolded, I had such an awareness that He was with me, leading AFL, and present in all the events. All we could do during the drive home on Sunday was to praise God and give thanks that everything went exactly how He planned!
I hope the articles and pictures in this newsletter give you a glimpse into our awesome SUMMIT events, and that you will plan to join us next year! Save these dates: Thursday, January 19 through Saturday, January 21, 2023.
Anglicans For Life is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, supported by churches, individuals, & foundations. Your contributions allow AFL to uphold the biblical principles of Life. Please use the enclosed envelope to make a donation! A financial statement is available upon request.