Remembering Our 39th Anniversary and Bishop Rodgers
Today we celebrate AFL’s 39th Anniversary of Incorporating Our Ministry!
By: Georgette Forney
In November of 2005, Anglicans For Life (previously known as NOEL) hosted a lovely dinner during the Hope and a Future Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. This was an event that paved the way to the founding of the Anglican Church in North America.
During the Celebration of Life Dinner, we honored the founding Board Members of AFL’s ministry which had been incorporated on December 6, 1983. One of the highlights of the evening was a brief speech given by the Rt. Rev. John Rodgers.
Bishop John went home to be with the Lord on November 23, 2022, and as I thought of my memories of this wonderful man of God, I thought about his talk that night at the dinner. After reading the speech in the AFL archives, I thought his words still need to be heard today.
We include the text here so that all may read it and be inspired.
“First of all, I wanted to accept this honor not on my behalf, I really deserve no honor, but on behalf of the Rt. Rev. Joseph M. Harte, now deceased, of Arizona, who used to stand up in the house of bishops for life and be ridiculed year after year.
And also, on behalf of Kathy Sweet who used to keep all of our records in a shoe box in her house, in a closet. On behalf of Becky Spanos and Judy Fink who came into my office when I was the dean of Trinity Episcopal School of Ministry and said, “We are not leaving this office until you help us incorporate this ministry! We’re simply not going to move.” And I had to go home! And on behalf of the memory of Paul Mericle, who was the head of the board.
We want to honor these early people, without them there would be no NOEL today, so please join with me in thanking God for these people and above all for Joe Harte.
Also, I wanted to praise those who have given strong leadership to the board, John Howe, Geoff Chapman, Robert Munday, Becky Spanos. These were at various times the leaders of our Board of Trustees and now of course, Loren Coyle. And I want to honor all who served on the Board as well.
We must not forget to thank God for our previous directors and our present direction of course, Georgette Forney, who serves with such excellence and thoroughness and imagination, not to mention beauty.
I want to conclude by reminding us of a few of the leading reasons why we are here tonight: of the critical importance of our calling. We are here battling and even winning somewhat.
WE ARE HERE:
First, because all persons, every person born and unborn (and now there is absolutely no way to avoid the conclusion that upon conception a unique human individual has begun, this is human life. Nobody is ignorant of that anymore, it’s just unavoidable. We knew it all along from Scripture but now we know it not only from Scripture but all modern scient backs it up. Nobody can pretend to be ignorant.) First, because all persons, born and unborn, are created by God in his image and are precious to Him, dear to our Heavenly Father. We simply cannot take their life: “The Lord giveth! It is not up to us to take away.”
Second, because the taking of innocent human life is murder and forbidden to us. It is immoral and it is odious to God. This truth is written deep in every human hear. Everybody knows that to be true, as these women so illustrated on the video we just saw.
Third, as Americans, these young people, born and unborn, are entitled by constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Abortion frankly is unconstitutional as well as immoral.
Fourth, because the Supreme Court decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolten, are unconstitutional and should be, indeed, must be repealed and overthrown.
Fifth, because the methods of abortion that we employee to slaughter the innocents are cruel and unusual punishment and cause these little ones great and excruciating pain. We know it now. We can see it taking place.
Ands sixth, because post-abortion trauma is real and robs mothers and fathers who have consented to an abortion of their joy and good conscience, as we just saws vividly portrayed before us in the “Silent No More” video. They need our mercy, they need our help, and they need the grace of God.
In short beloved brothers and sisters, saints of the Lord, we persist because abortion is a great evil in our midst and it must be stopped. And because it must be stopped, we must not stop. We must not row weary. WE must not take all of this for granted. We must not say it is no longer our concern.
Therefore, let us tonight take fresh resolve, Let us keep on keeping on. Let us care for the mothers and the little ones. Jesus said, “Let the little ones come unto me”. Let us raise them up and bring them up in the faith and the fear of the Lord so that they might know Him and come unto Him with all the promise that He has given to them.
Let us not cease until this evil practice and sacrifice of our children has ceased in this land, so help us God”