You are here: > Home > Parish > Pastoral Life >

LIFE MATTERS

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
Chichester and District Branch

"The Lord called me before I was born,
while I was in my mother’s womb he named me."
Isaiah 49:3

baby

All human life is of infinite value but, sadly, destruction of children before birth has become commonplace and there are further calls to end lives some consider of no value. Pope Francis has written in Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) paragraph 213:

"Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us ... a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems".

Find the full text of EVANGELII GAUDIUM here

pope

Pope Francis speaks of the need to protect vulnerable people,
especially unborn children
 “the most defenceless and innocent among us"

Who we are

We are a group which is part of a national pro-life organisation, working to protect vulnerable human life endangered by abortion and euthanasia. Abortion is a subject that many people prefer to ignore, but we challenge the prevailing view, found even amongst Christians, that abortion is a regrettable but acceptable response to an unwanted pregnancy.

Our aim is to encourage in our country the respect that all members of the human family deserve, and to support policies that assist those who, even though they might be in difficult circumstances, wish to protect human life.

We are a non-denominational, voluntary group and meet every 4 - 6 weeks, alternately in Chichester and Bognor Regis. The group was founded in 1992 under the leadership of the late Peter Hunt, a well-known Chichester Anglican. The first meeting was in the Ship Hotel in Chichester. Canon Dermot Fogarty was a constant supporter until his death in 2012. He composed this prayer which is used at group meetings:

Lord God, Creator of the universe, who made all human life in your own image and likeness, guide us in our work to defend the sanctity of this same human life from its very beginnings. Your son became one of us in the womb of the Virgin Mary and so we offer our prayer to the same Jesus Christ who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Father John Healey with some members of the group
after the prayer service held at St Richard's Church,
Chichester, on the Bishops' Conference Day for Life 
in July 2011

group

What we do

  • encourage people to write to MPs and MEPs on life issues

  • collect signatures for petitions, for instance to support the Glasgow midwives prevented from working on a labour ward because they refused to supervise abortions

  • organise talks and provide and deliver information leaflets on life issues

  • arrange times of special prayer for children lost before birth and their mothers, for people affected by abortion, and for an end to abortion

  • support protest initiatives such as the Worthing Chain for Life and the 40 Days for Life prayer vigils in London and Brighton

  • publicise where post-abortion and crisis pregnancy support can be accessed

  • tend the memorial we have erected in Arundel Cemetery to provide a quiet place for prayer and reflection
  • A Memorial to Children Lost Before Birth

    Remembering with love all children lost before birth

    Bishop Kieran Conry dedicating the memorial at Arundel Cemetery 
    with Canon Tim Madeley in 2009

    memorial

    After lengthy planning and fund-raising under the leadership of Barrie Williams we erected this memorial in Arundel cemetery near the cathedral in 2009.

    It has become a focus of healing and peace for those affected by the loss of a child before birth. Flowers and mementos are often left there and it is cared for by a team of volunteers.

    The memorial is included in the annual Blessing of Graves service held at the cemetery each November. This prayer composed by the group is said at the memorial:

    Dear Lord, we pray for children who died before we could know them. We think of them today and grieve for them. But we know, Lord, that they are safe in your loving arms.

    We pray for those who are suffering sorrow and distress as a result of the death of a child before birth. Lord, surround them in their sadness with your tenderness and your loving care, comfort them in their sorrow and bring them healing and peace. Amen.

    The prayer is based on prayers left by mourners at the memorial.

    Membership

    We are always glad to welcome new members. With more members we could do more, for example:

  • become more involved in the work of SPUC's Educational Trust and arrange for trained speakers to give presentations on the humanity of the unborn child and the issue of abortion, or to show DVDs, or to take part in discussions or debates involving schools or other interested organisations.

  • promote locally No Less Human (NLH), which is a group within SPUC for disabled people, their families and carers. Disabled people are threatened throughout their lives by the attitude that they would be better-off dead. NLH campaigns to secure in law the equal right to life of disabled people, from conception to natural death

  • publicise more widely the counselling services for those harmed by abortion, such as that provided by Abortion Recovery and Care Helpline (ARCH), a division of the SPUC Educational Research Trust, founded by women who have had abortions and are in a position to help others with the emotional difficulties they are experiencing
  • If you would like to find out more please contact Maria Whitehouse on 01903 884971 or Anne Shardlow on 01243 783618 or come to a meeting. Meetings are publicised in parish newsletters.

    Further information

    Post-Abortion support:

    Abortion can affect people for many years because, however early an abortion takes place, a mother and a father lose a child. Emotional, spiritual and psychological support is available from:

    Options, based in Chichester at 2 New Town, Chichester, PO19 1UG, offers face-to-face and telephone counselling phone 01243 784177

    The Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline is a national telephone service. Phone 0845 6038501.

    Rachel's Vineyard offers weekend retreats for women seeking to renew their lives see www.rachelsvineyard.org.uk or phone 07505 904656.

    Crisis Pregnancy support, counselling, information:

    LIFE Charity: National Helpline 0808 802 5433 www.lifecharity.org.uk

    Text to talk: text LIFECARE (followed by your message) to 88020

    The Good Counsel Network: www.goodcounsel.co.uk

    Options: Face-to-face and telephone counselling for people experiencing a crisis pregnancy. Contact 2 New Town Chichester PO19 1UG. Phone: 01243 784177

    Care Confidential: on line counselling available at www.careconfidential.com

    Websites covering pro-life matters:

    LIFE www.lifecharity.org.uk

    Right to Life www.righttolifetrust.org.uk

    40 Days for Life www.40daysforlife.com

    spuc logo

    I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life then, so that you and your descendants may live
    Deuteronomy 30:19