Redeemer pro-life club off to successful start

By  Mary Sawchuk, Youth Speak News
  • December 18, 2008
{mosimage}ANCASTER, Ont. - They call themselves Humanae Heartbeat. With the support of the school and classmates at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, outside of Hamilton, students Allie Klassen and Jessica Dunn have re-established the school’s pro-life club, which had collapsed last year due to a lack of proper leadership.

There are already approximately 50 members in the club, many of whom attend meetings on a bi-weekly basis since the club began in September.

“We are all Christians here, and abortion is against all Christian values,” Dunn said, “so I wondered why the issue of abortion was not being addressed.”

Dunn, a first-year transfer student, and Klassen, in her second year,  approached their student life representatives to begin a pro-life club, seeing a need for the school to have a pro-life club.

“We want to show that Redeemer is passionate about this issue (of abortion),” said Klassen, describing why a Christian school should have such a group.

Despite being a new group, Humanae Heartbeat has a list of goals it hopes to accomplish this school year.

“We want to create a unified stance on abortion and create awareness in the community,” said Dunn.

Through the club, the organizers hope to give students a foundation for public defence of unborn children. In the new year they plan to invite someone in to train students in verbally defending the unborn.

The club, which formed in September, has already hosted various activities and events. The first main event was the viewing of pro-life movie, Bella, which drew about 30 students. Last month, Humanae Heartbeat invited Angelina Steenstra from Silent No More to speak to students about her personal experience with abortion. She made her audience  aware of the physical, emotional and spiritual impact abortion has on a woman. She mentioned that today  “one of the most common surgeries in women is abortion” and that abortion has become “an industry.” 

On Nov. 30, Humanae Heartbeat hosted a Life Chain — an hour-long silent prayer vigil — along Highway 53 just outside of Redeemer College. Despite cold temperatures and snow, about 115 students and local families lined up on the roadside and stood for an hour of prayer and meditation. This event mirrored the annual Life Chain Sunday on the first Sunday of October all across North America.

Klassen said they were very pleased with the number of people who attended.

“One of the goals of the club is to see people living in a way that shows that they are pro-life. We want to encourage students to live their life in a way that is pro-life,” Klassen said. 

Just like any new club there are challenges to be faced. While clubs at some secular universities struggle with gaining club status, that is certainly not the case with  Humanae Heartbeat. At Redeemer, the pro-life organizers are faced with a different kind of obstacle.

“The biggest challenge that I find in having this group is in making the students stand up against abortion,” Dunn said. “We have to challenge the students themselves to take a stand. They know they are against abortion but we have to encourage and help them to defend what they believe.”

Despite this, Dunn said they are getting positive feedback at all levels, including their student council “because they know that it is a call of Christ to do this.”

Redeemer’s president, Justin Cooper, said he has high hopes for Humanae Heartbeat.

“I hope the club will call us back to attention to these matters and the unChristian world view that underlies them as well as to remind us of the need for the church to educate (people) about the risks and realities of abortion, to promote adoption, to support single mothers and also to minister to those who have had abortions,” Cooper said.

Watching Humanae Heartbeat begin and progress, Cooper emphasizes the call of Christ.

“As Christians we need to speak out for justice for the weak, poor and oppressed. The unborn are certainly among the most vulnerable in our society, and the love of Christ constrains as to stand up for them.”

(Sawchuk, 21, studies literature at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ont.)

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