By Brian Blackwell, editor of the Baptist Message
ALEXANDRIA, La. (LBM) – Former childhood TV star Kirk Cameron encouraged more than 1,100 guests at the CENLA Pregnancy Center’s Gift of Life Banquet to continue the fight in the pro-life movement which is growing more and more across the country.
The annual event was held at the Randolph River Front Center.
“When I think of everything that’s happening at CENLA Pregnancy Center, I see this whole strategy being implemented in a beautiful little microcosm right here in Alexandria and in your satellite sites,” Cameron said at the September 13 event. . “It’s driven by faith. The Gospel is shared. More importantly, people enter into a relationship with God.
“They educate and speak to these young women about how they are made in the image of God, and these young women learn the value of God to families and children,” he continued. “They have an educational component for their clients and the community that helps set little babies free, allowing them to live and giving us all the opportunity to participate in what God is doing at the CENLA Pregnancy Center.
“And the center, too, is involved in making people realize that we can’t get out of the political field as difficult and dark as it is,” Cameron said. “We must defeat the darkness by flooding it with life.”
Cameron was the keynote speaker at the fundraiser, which drew the biggest crowd ever for its Gift of Life banquet. The event also included remarks from other life advocates, an update on the impact of the center and an introduction from its new executive director.
From August 2021 to July, the CENLA Pregnancy Center (including its two satellite sites in Marksville and Vidalia) served 361 clients and saw 331 babies rescued. In July, the celebrated the opening of its Vidalia factory.
The centers save lives by offering services such as pregnancy decision support (by trained advocates), free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, information on pregnancy options, referrals to mental health and obstetrician-gynecologist referrals, safe house and affordable housing referrals, adoption support (referrals to help pregnant women with an adoption plan and limited financial assistance), and post- decision that includes parenting education as well as recovery groups for those who regret having had an abortion.
In addition, the center meets the basic needs of mothers and their babies by distributing food, cots, diapers, feminine hygiene products, car seats and clothing.
The department also recently began offering abortion pill reversal services. The center is listed on a national hotline that connects CENLA pregnancy center staff with women seeking to reverse the effects of the first pill taken for chemical abortion.
FROM ATHEIST TO EVANGELIST
Cameron, who at 14 landed the role of Mike Seaver on the 1980s sitcom “Growing Pains,” has been sucked into the celebrity lifestyle. However, three years later he was found guilty of his need for a Savior and changed from an atheist to a follower of Christ.
Later in his career, Cameron started working on films like “Left Behind”, “Fireproof” and more recently “Lifemark”.
Released Sept. 9, “Lifemark” is inspired by the 2017 documentary “I Lived On Parker Avenue,” which details the story of David Scotton, who was born in Indiana and placed with his adoptive family in Metairie in 1993.
Cameron said he was passionate about his latest film because his wife, Chelsea, and four of their six children were adopted.
“I am so grateful to the young mothers who have chosen to give birth to their children because four of my six children were adopted with my wife. It’s scary to think they were all one doctor away from existing,” he said. “And if my wife hadn’t been born, our other two children wouldn’t be here today either.
“They were touched by the loving support, care and encouragement from pregnancy centers and those who supported them,” Cameron said. “These centers helped birth parents believe that the babies inside of them were not a mistake but a living miracle. They took the opportunity to turn a difficult situation into something beautiful. .
PASSING THE TORCH
Board Chairman Ed Tarpley thanked the crowd for their continued support.
“We give God all the praise and glory for what he has done here,” said Tarpley, a member of Kingsville Baptist Church, Ball. “Our staff with Claire Lemoine as general manager and all the others have done a magnificent job. Enjoy the camaraderie and friendship, but most of all being part of the cause of life at Cenla as we reach out to help young women in need and their babies.
Brian Gunter, pastor of First Baptist Church, Livingston, and past chairman of the board, presented Lemoine with a plaque and a gift of appreciation for her five years of service as the center’s first executive director. Lemoine will retire September 15 and handing over her duties to new executive director Kim Lyons.
“Over the past five years, Claire has done an incredible job leading the CENLA Pregnancy Center,” said Gunter, who stepped down earlier this year as founding board chair when he moved to Livingstone. “The babies are alive today thanks to the CENLA pregnancy centre. Mothers and fathers heard the gospel and they received hope and these babies received good homes.
Lemoine asked the crowd to continue to pray for the center and thanked the crowd, staff, family and community for their continued support.
“The past five years have taught me so much about true, genuine, Christ-like love and mercy and the miracle of life,” she said. “My time as Executive Director of CENLA Pregnancy Center has come to a close and this season of my life is over. I will be eternally grateful to God for making His calling so clear and allowing me to step out of the boat and going into uncharted waters to lead this ministry for the past five years.
Lyons told the crowd that she was thrilled to be the next executive director.
“There is so much gratitude in this room for the tremendous work that Claire and the team of people and more importantly the community have done as they come together to build this ministry,” she said. .
“This community is amazing,” she continued. “This room is full of faithful and trusting servants and disciples who are here. When the Lord opened this opportunity to me and showed me that this was the next step, it was very easy. I continue to live in his will, trust his call and believe where he leads me and take me, my husband and my four beautiful children and trust when he opens the door I can walk with faith in her.
For more information about the CENLA Pregnancy Center, visit cenlapc.com.