Christian Chronicle

Picket signs, honking horns and sidewalk sermons: Inside an anti-abortion ministry

Michigan church members say the Gospel, not politics, motivates them to gather at clinics and urge women not to end pregnancies.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A bullhorn amplified Conner Westerby’s words as he stood on a public sidewalk and tried to gain the attention of a woman entering a clinic about 75 feet away.

Westerby, a 24-year-old Christian sporting a black ball cap with a white cross on it, urged the woman not to seek an abortion.

“Ma’am, God says that babies are a gift from him. Not an accident. Not a curse,” Westerby told her. “They’re a blessing from the Lord.”

Related: Could the U.S. Supreme Court soon overturn Roe v. Wade?

Nearby, Shannon Filipiak, 48, an adoptive mother of a 5-year-old girl, waved a sign by the busy street.

“Babies are murdered here,” Filipiak’s sign declared, pointing to the website of a national group called End Abortion Now.

As Westerby, Filipiak and several other members of a Detroit-area Church of Christ picketed the clinic, passing motorists frequently honked their horns — some supporting the anti-abortion demonstrators, others flashing obscene gestures or cursing out their windows. 

“Jesus said, ‘Remember when they hated you, they hated me first,’” Filipiak said of the upset drivers. “People hate us, and that’s OK. It doesn’t deter me.”

Since last year, the Metro Church of Christ in Sterling Heights, Mich., has encouraged a ministry of some members called “Metro for Life,” which seeks to reduce the number of abortions in Michigan. 

A banner hung outside the church building features the faces of smiling babies and this message: “Abortion stops a beating heart.”

Read the full story.

This story appears in the June edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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