Described as a peaceful event that bears witness to beliefs in the sanctity of life, Deanna Leonard said the annual Life Chain is Sunday, Oct. 3, in Hermiston.
“It’s not a protest,” the Hermiston woman said. “We’re Christians praying and giving a personal witness of our beliefs.”
To participate, meet at 2 p.m. in the parking lot behind Banner Bank, 101 E. Main St., Hermiston. After briefing participants, including passing out signs, Leonard said the group will spread out along North First Street (Highway 395) near Gladys and Hermiston avenues.
Kristi Smalley, who attends Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church in Hermiston, learned about the event from Leonard a handful of years ago. The regent of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court No. 1692, Smalley had been providing financial support to anti-abortion causes but felt compelled to do something more.
“I wanted to do something physical to hopefully help people realize how precious life is from conception to natural death,” she said.
Sometimes, Smalley said, people aren’t aware of available resources when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. She shared about engaging in a conversation with an expectant mother while taking a walk in her neighborhood. The young woman, Smalley said, was feeling pressure from her boyfriend to have an abortion.
“It was heart-wrenching to witness her anguish,” she said.
Whether it’s engaging in a sort of “sidewalk counseling” or participating in an organized anti-abortion event, Smalley said it’s important to let people know they are not alone and options are available.
According to the national organization’s website, the event is in its 34th year. Held the first Sunday in October, the effort encourages the faith community to link together to lead the nation in prayer for the unborn. Leonard has taken the reins in organizing the Hermiston event for around 17 years. The silent and prayerful approach, Leonard said, is a non-confrontational way to express their anti-abortion beliefs.
While the signage displayed ranges from messages of support, like “Adoption is the Loving Option” and “Jesus Forgives & Heals,” some are more direct, such as “Pray to End Abortion” and “Abortion Kills Children.”
Leonard and Smalley said they don’t endorse using graphic photos or harsh verbiage. Smalley called it “a distraction,” saying it takes the focus off the positive message they’re trying to convey.
“We’re hoping to plant a seed,” Leonard said.
For more information, visit www.LifeChain.org or call Leonard at 541-571-3592.