United Church of Christ people worshiped online “in disbelief, sorrow and resolve” June 24.
They gathered on Zoom and YouTube for “Hope Beyond Roe: A Service of Gathering and Lament.” The service came in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier that day to overturn Roe v. Wade — and, with it, the constitutional right of individuals to decide whether or not to have an abortion.
The live Zoom version drew 1,039 participants. By the next day, the service had another 1,600 views on YouTube — a combination of those who watched it live there or the recording later. The service remains available here, at the UCC YouTube channel.
Psalm, prayers, testimonials
The Rev. Chris Davies of the UCC’s Faith Education, Innovation and Formation team led the service. She set the tone from the start. “Welcome, you who have had abortions and you who have had children by choice,” she said. “Welcome, you who have birthed and parented and adopted and claimed children of children. Welcome, you who have had surprise babies and chosen not to have babies.
“Welcome to all in this space. No matter who you are, or how you engage your own right of reproductive choice, you are welcome in this space. God loves you. God loves people who have had abortions, and you do too, whether you know it or not.”
All three elected officers of the UCC were among current and past national staff members who spoke. They offered a litany, prayers, a Psalm, music and testimonials. They shared messages of comfort and solidarity with those in grief over the court decision. They prayed blessings upon people “who have had or will have abortions” and those who accompany them and provide them services.
And they encouraged people to hold onto hope that the right the court had just taken away would eventually be restored. They urged people to work for new state and federal laws to do that — and urged them to vote.
‘Not the end’
The Rev. Traci Blackmon, associate general minister, noted the UCC’s long history of standing up for reproductive justice even before the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
“Today was a blow, but it was just a blow,” she said near the end of the service. “We’ve taken time to pause, to rest, to reflect, to lament, and tomorrow we will journey on. And we will keep journeying until the value of every human being is recognized, respected and honored in us and in our judicial and legal systems.
“We have been in this place before. We are here again. But this is not the end of the road. Be encouraged and know that we together are stronger than anything against us.”
Originally posted on ucc.org