Case in Point


This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Annual Life Banquet (speech: Ellensburg Pregnancy Care Center)

Annual Life Banquet
October 17, 1995

Welcome to the Ellensburg Pregnancy Care Center’s Annual Life Banquet. Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ on behalf of all the infant-Americans who have been saved this past year through the efforts of the Ellensburg Pregnancy Care Center.

We begin our celebration by coming before our heavenly Father to recognize our dependence on Him and to commit the evening into His hands. Sen. Harold Hockstatter will lead us to the throne of grace:

Enjoy your meal. We will start the program about 7:00.

We are awfully glad you’re here because this is an evening to rejoice in God’s goodness and mercy, an evening to enjoy like-minded Christian fellowship, and an evening to be inspired by one of our state’s most outspoken and effective champions of the family.

Thank you, CWU String Quartet.

Let me take this opportunity to introduce the participants in tonight’s program, and some special guests:
*Chairman of the Ellensburg Pregnancy Care Center Board of Directors, Dr. Richard Samuel, and his wife Board member Donna.
*Executive Director of the Ellensburg Pregnancy Care Center, Judy Phelps, and her husband Greg.
*Vice-President of Washington Family Council, and our speaker this evening, Mr. Randy Hicks, and his wife Marilyn.
We have some special guests in our audience tonight:
*State Rep. Joyce Mulliken from Ephrata.
*State Sen. Harold Hockstatter, and his wife Paula from Moses Lake.
*Chairman of our first steering committee, Dr. Jim Powell, and his wife Joyce.

*Would the hard working Board members of EPCC and their long-suffering spouses please stand so we could see who you are.

*We also have recognized in the program those special people who underwrote this banquet. If you get an opportunity, thank them for dinner.

*Finally, we’d like to thank Meredith Wilson of the Scented Garden in the 1888 Building for donating the flower arrangements on the tables. Meredith has indicated that they are yours to take home.

Allow me to add a political comment here: We Christians need to support those pro-life men and women whom God has raised up to carry our political banner with whatever it takes to keep them in office.
Do you know that “Jane Roe,” (Norma McCorvey) the “Roe” of the infamous Roe v. Wade, the murderous abortion decision of the 1973 Supreme Court, three months ago, in August, was publicly baptized in Dallas as a born-again Christian and has become solidly pro-life with Operation Rescue in the Dallas area. God is at work in this country and He is doing great and mighty things with His people. Witness this evening as only one example! This banquet didn’t happen 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago! But tonight we gather to celebrate life in Ellensburg.

Now tonight is about the present and the future. But, before we get to the present and the future I want to share a few personal thoughts on the past, on where we have been as an evangelical Protestant church to help set our celebration in perspective.

20 years ago, Dr. Harold O.J. Brown, the founder of the Christian Action Council and the Pregnancy Care Centers, and one of America’s great contemporary Christian thinkers, wrote one of the most provocative articles ever to appear in Christianity Today. It was entitled, “The Passivity of American Christians” (1/16/76). His basic point in the article was that we Christians are to society as the soul is to the body, therefore, one of the things we must do is to “acknowledge that if God has placed us in a largely non-Christian society, it is not in order that we be transformed by society, but that society be healed and transformed by us.”

Moved by that article, I called the then two-person national office of the Christian Action Council in Washington, DC (January, 1976) and invited Joe Brown to come to Arizona where I was pastoring. I offered to arrange speaking engagements in evangelical churches in Phoenix and Tucson, and to promote statewide media coverage of his message. After reading Brown’s article, I also joined the Arizona chapter of the National Right to Life organization to become, as it turned out, the only Protestant pastor in the state publicly identified with the organized pro-life movement. I was the token Protestant in a sea of Roman Catholics and Mormons. What valiant warriors for the unborn those Catholics and Mormons have been since those days! So few of us evangelical Protestants cared! Let me quickly add that by the time Dr. Brown finished his tour of Arizona we had several prominent evangelical pastors in the Arizona pro-life movement.

A few weeks later, Joe Brown invited me to Washington, DC to replace him as National Director of the Christian Action Council as he went on to a very distinguished scholarly career. It was my task to bring the Christian Action Council out from under the secure sponsorship and financial umbrella of Bill McFadden of National Review into sponsorship by the evangelical wing of the Protestant Church.

Reflecting on my time in Washington, DC, back in those early days, I can remember things:

*I can remember having a hard time getting into supposedly friendly evangelical congregations in the Washington, DC area because I was mixing politics and religion, and besides I couldn’t give 5 easy steps for success in the Christian life. And if I did get in to speak to the congregation, they seldom had any money for our cause.

*I can remember Pat Robertson bringing Kathy and I down to Virginia Beach, VA to appear on his new “700 Club” as an oddity: an evangelical lobbyist in the nation’s capital. Can you imagine that!

*I can remember attending a Bible study in 1976 at the Fellowship House in Washington with the newly converted Charles Colson, Oklahoma Sen. Harold Hughes, Minnesota Cong. Al Quie, Washington Cong. Don Bonker, Doug Coe and several others, during which I suggested abortion was the major government sanctioned evil which faced the Church in America. In those days, it seemed to be news to them.

*And, I can remember, that after months of work we were forced to put CAC on the low burner, because we couldn’t financially support ourselves any longer, much to the disappointment of Joe Brown and “Chick” Koop (better known as Dr. C. Everett Koop, then head of pediatric surgery at Children’s’ Hospital in Philadelphia and at the time, chairman of the CAC Board); this was, of course, before he became Surgeon General of the United States.

To make a long and somewhat frustrating story short, we evangelicals in 1973 and 1974 and 1975 and 1976 and 1977 had not yet joined the battle to save our culture. In fact, I would suggest it wasn’t until 1978, when Francis Schaeffer’s book, Whatever Happened to the Human Race hit the evangelical public that it became intellectually and spiritually respectable in our circles to be adamant about the sanctity of human life, among other issues.

Allow me to add a final comment about the Ellensburg Pregnancy Care Center and Prof. Brown’s charge to us 20 years ago to be a “healing and transforming presence” in our secular society. Our secular society tells us (as Dear Abby states repeatedly in her columns ) that our opposition to abortion burdens us pro-lifers with the social responsibility to care for the new mother and her child; That because we are against killing the unborn child we are therefore responsible for the welfare of that new-born child and the mother. I say, it is enough that we stop the “slaughter of the innocents;” we do not have the further obligation imposed by a hypocritical society to care for the mother who did the right thing in the final analysis–let her child live.

Therefore, it is a great and wonderful testimony to God’s love and grace that He raised up the Ellensburg Pregnancy Care Center, to take the additional step, the godly step, to go the extra mile and put more feet on our Christian convictions by the “healing and transforming” ministry of helping, educating, clothing, and evangelizing young mothers (and fathers) and babies. May God continue to bless our efforts.

The brother in Christ who has come to be with us from Seattle is a warrior in God’s army. He is bold and articulate, and he is one of those rare individuals whom God has “raised up for such a time as this.” We’ll get to our special speaker in a bit, but first we have a brief report on the ministry of the Ellensburg Pregnancy Care Center. But before that we have a sample of our Executive Director’s musical gifts. And to introduce our Executive Director I give you my boss, Chairman of the Board, Dr. Rich Samuel.

Randy Hicks is Associate Director of the Washington Family Council headquartered in Seattle. He is responsible for formulating and implementing an intelligent defense of the values and policies that strengthen and affirm the family. He has been an executive with Focus on the Family. And He has practical political experience as a legislative aid for a California state senator. Randy is a graduate of the University of Southern California and he received a Master’s Degree from Talbot School of Theology in Los Angeles. It is our pleasure to give you Mr. Randy Hicks:

Thank you, Randy.

A gathering of God’s people wouldn’t be complete without presenting the opportunity and obligation, to financially put our material blessings to work for the Lord’s ministry.
*We need money to respond to the needs at Central Washington University;
*We need money to increase our educational outreach to the schools and churches in Ellensburg; and
*We need money to continue to expand our office hours, our counseling staff, and our ministry resources.

For your convenience, we have provided support envelopes on the table. We’ve asked the table host to distribute and collect the envelopes at their table. The envelope is pretty self-explanatory, giving you the opportunity to check for one time gifts or even better, monthly financial support, or other ways to be involved in the ministry of the Ellensburg Pregnancy Care Center. We are asking that you step up and support the ministry, because if we don’t, who will?

Greg Phelps, the trailing spouse of our Executive Director and Minister of Music at the Ellensburg CMA Church, will grace us with an offertory:
Benediction: Rev. David Salzman, a Board Member from the Ellensburg


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One Response

  1. Judy Phelps says:

    I just found this . . . not sure I even had the internet in October 1995. It is amazing to read your words spoken during the first year of our ministry. By God’s amazing grace, we have remained true to his initial calling, still working to protect women and children from abortion. I always thank God for your good work in the formation of the Ellensburg Pregnancy Care Center – now called Care Net Pregnancy Center. Do you remember when certain Board members wanted to bring in all of their extra pens and pencils from home?? You suggested $200 in an office supply budget! Thank you Bob for your passion, thank you for your obedience to the Lord, thank you for stand for life. Thank you also for helping to set me firmly on the path the Lord called me to. Let me know if you read this!

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