Religious Service /March for Women's Lives

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, 4/28/2004

Sponsor: Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Cosponsors: Clergy Advisory Board of Planned Parenthood; Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing;
White Fire Women Spiritual Leader

Opening Music by the REJOICE Choir, led by Rev. Jackie Denni

Welcome and Introduction of Worship Participantseverend Carlton W. Veazey
Call to Worship: .Reverend Carlton W. Veazey
written by Reverend Jolene Cadenbach

Source of every human longing and hope, whose love
and care has touched us all, we gather to seek the
courage and strength none of us can find alone.

Open us to the deeper meanings of this moment, which is an opportunity for
people of many faith traditions to come together and affirm the choices we face in
our human journey with each other.

Strengthen us in our resolve to work for a more
open, loving, and peaceful society
which celebrates the diversity of its many people.

As we come together this day for worship and
celebration, may we share our struggles, affirm our choices, deepen our
faith, and bond our lives with each other and the Source of our being.


IN MEMORIAMRev. Debra W. Haffner, Rabbi Sally Priesand, Genie Bank, Rev. Barbara Molfese, Caitlin Kennell
(written by Reverend Barbara Molfese)

Rev. Haffner. : Our deep religiousness calls us together at this hour of our Peoplesgreat need.

Caitlin Kennell: In Reverence for Life, . . . in all its mystery and intricate complexity;

Rabbi Priesand: United in our Compassion for all those who struggle to see the Good;

Genie Bank: Steadfast in our Conviction that the Right of Conscience is Sacred;

Rev. Molfese: Standing in Solidarity against Intolerance and Religious Persecution.

Rev. Haffner: We honor the memory of those who have gone before us, . . . knowing you were there, women and men in every age, in every land, . . . who understood that life may only continue where conditions support its nurture, and that there is no substitute for a loving and welcoming family.

Caitlin Kennell: We know you were there, wise women, mid-wives and physicians who quietly practiced the use of herbs before abortion was made illegal; doctors and nurses who discretely ended unintended pregnancies in spite of restrictive laws; for doctors, nurses, clinic staff and escorts who died at the hands of those who hate.

Rabbi Priesand: We know you were there, lonely women who knew no medical provider to turn to, who found no friend to help, no loving family to comfort you, and who died so tragically from desperate measures;

Genie Bank: We know that far back in recorded history there have been opposing views about when life begins, contraception, abortion. We know you were there — the courageous voices who questioned and challenged and overcame the forces of oppression.

Rev. Molfese: We know you were there, women and men of deep faith, knowing that the holy speaks to us when we would listen, guiding us and leading us through even Life dark pathways, inspiring us and entrusting into our care those who face hard choices, seeking the greatest good, the wisest course.

Rev. Haffner: Rest content now, we pray, warmed by our gratitude and admiration.

Rev Molfese: Rest content now, we pray, knowing that we lift up your work and advance it, as we may.

Rabbi Priesand: Rest content now, we pray, for we will not allow the right of conscience to be lost.

Genie Bank: Rest content now, we pray, for we will care for those who suffer doubt and are troubled.

Caitlin Kennell: Rest content now, we pray, for we entrust your wisdom to each new generation.

SONG: Dona Nobis Pacem/Sim Shalom/Give Us Peace ..Hazzan Sunny Schnitzer

Dona nobis pacem
Grant us peace; goodness and blessing
Sim shalom, tovah uracha

Litany of Celebration and Affirmationev. William Sinkford, Rabbi Perry Rank, Dr. Sheila Brigg
Excerpted and adapted from Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healingand Planned Parenthood Federation of America tatement of Beliefs
Rev. Sinkford: We celebrate this day o march, to protest, to defend, to stand-up for women lives.

All: We celebrate and give thanks for this day!

Rev. Sinkford: But most especially for the One, named and unnamed, who gives us life in abundance

All: We celebrate and give thanks for this day!

Rev. Sinkford: e are gentle, angry people and we are praying for women lives.
All: We celebrate and give thanks for this day!

Rev. Sinkford: "We come from diverse religious traditions to acknowledge that our sexuality is one of God's blessings. We affirm that the free and joyous expression of one's sexuality is central to being human."

All: We celebrate and give thanks for this day!

Rabbi Rank: "We affirm the right to sexual and reproductive self-determination: It cannot be coercive or exploitative! It must be responsible! We believe in trusting individuals and providing them with the information they need to make well-informed decisions about their sexuality, family planning and child-bearing. Women have an equal place at life's table. We respect women as moral decision makers."

All: We celebrate and give thanks for this day!

Rabbi Rank: e believe in passion for change, for justice, for easing the plight of others, for caring, for living our convictions and for confronting inhumane acts; and we believe in acting now.
All: We celebrate and give thanks for this day!

Rabbi Rank: e celebrate inclusion and diversity and the power and knowledge they confer. We believe in leadership based upon collaboration rather than hierarchy. We are gentle, angry people and we are singing for our lives!

All: We celebrate and give thanks for this day!

Dr. Sheila Briggs: he urgency of creating a sustainable world and living in peace with our planet is a mandate in our modern era. We must act courageously, especially as allies of those who have little or no voice and little or no power.
All: We celebrate and give thanks for this day!

Dr. Sheila Briggs: We thank you Holy One for the gifts of life! We are gentle, angry people and we are marching for our lives! The earth is the Creator This is the day that God made: let us rejoice and be grateful for it.

All: We celebrate and give thanks for this day!

Rev. Ignacio Castuera
Dios de Amor y Bondad:
Venimos ante ti para agradecerte por tus bendiciones y para pedirte sabiduria. Estamos aqui para demostrar que las personas de Fe verdaderamente creen que creaste a la mujer a tu imagen y semejanza. Creemos que todas las mujeres recibieron de ti el don del libre albedrio que hoy esta amenazado por fuerzas que se oponen a ti usando tu Nombre en vano.

Clarifica nuestra vision, fortalece nuestra voluntad y prospera nuestros planes para que cada dia se acerquen mas a tu deseo y voluntad para toda la humanidad. Permite que no dejemos de trabajar para que este pais se convierta en el primer bocado del banquete mesianica donde la harmonia y la paz perduren. Amen

God of Love and Goodness, we come before you to thank you for your blessings and to ask for wisdom. We are here to show that people of Faith truly believe that you created women in your image and likeness. We affirm that all women received from you the gift of free will, a gift which the forces that oppose you, using your name in vain, want to take away.

Clarify our vision, strengthen our will and prosper our desire to serve you so that this society of ours might become a foretaste of that messianic banquet where harmony and peace prevail. Amen

Dana Tarley: Let us offer prayers now in the Jewish tradition:

In the beginning, darkness covered the face of the deep.
Then the rushing-breath of life hovered over the waters.
Let us breathe together.
Let us catch our breaths from the need to make, to do.
Let us be conscious of the Breath of Life.
We breathe in what the trees breathe out.
The trees breathe in what we breathe out.
Together we breathe each other into life.
Blessed is the One within the many.
Blessed are the Many who make one.
(Copyright (c) 2000 by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, author of Godwrestling — Round 2
and director of The Shalom Center <

Rabbi Shirley Idelson: From Psalm 92:

Rabbi Amy Small:

It is good to praise God
to sing hymns to Your name, O Most High,
To proclaim Your steadfast love at daybreak,
Your faithfulness each night
With a ten-stringed harp,
with voice and lyre together.
You have gladdened me by Your deeds, Oh God;
I shout for joy at Your handiwork.
How great are Your works, Oh God,
how very subtle Your designs!

Rev. Mark Pawlowski
Reading from the Christian tradition: My Pro-Choice Credo
Excerpted from My Pro-Choice Credo written by Kathleen George Kearney
(from Our Choices, Our Lives, ed. Krista Jacob)

God weeps when we are hurt, and rejoices when we are made whole. I believe God stands with women as they end pregnancies, just as God stands with women who deliver babies and with women who give those babies to adoptive parents. God does not choose God allegiances, God stands with all of us, regardless of where we stand. The challenge is to stand where we are with integrity, compassion, and wisdom. When women choose to have abortions, they are acting with integrity, aware of compassion, and in realization of their own wisdom. To doubt the integrity, compassion, or wisdom of women is to insult women and offend God. At times it is and will be difficult to support women in their experiences of pregnancy, but if we are to be faithful to God and Christ, we must stand beside women and support them in lives of their own choosing.

Reham Nasr: Let us offer prayers now in the Muslim tradition:
The Holy Quran Sura 6.151, and Sura 17.31

____ ___________ ______ ___ _______ _________ __________ ______ ___________ ____ _______ __________________ __________ _____ ___________ ____________ _____ ________ _______ ____________ ____________ _____ ___________ ____________ ___ ______ _______ _____ ______ _____ ___________ _________ _______ _______ ______ ______ __________ ________ __________ ____ ___________ ___________
151.Say (O Muhammad ___ ____ ____ ____): "Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty - We provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near to Al-Fawaahish (shameful sins, illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, and kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to Islamic law). This He has commanded you that you may understand.
Sura 17.31

_____ ___________ ____________ ________ ________ _______ ____________ ___________ ____ __________ _____ _______ ________
31.And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin.
A Prayer to Allah

Oh Allah!
I am your servant,
son of Your male servant,
and son of Your female servant;
my forehead is in Your Hand;
Your judgment is exact;
Your decision about me is just;
I ask You by every name of Yours which You have called Yourself,
or revealed in a Book of Yours,
or taught to any of Your servants,
or reserved within Your unrevealed Knowledge,
to make the Quran a spring to my heart,
a light in my chest,
that it removes my sadness,
and erase my anguish.
(Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him))

Tara Brach: Let us offer prayers now in the Buddhist tradition:

Hatred never ceases by hatred
But by love alone is healed
This is the ancient and eternal law

Just as a mother watches over her child, willing to risk her own life
to protect her only child
So with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings, suffusing the whole world with unobstructed loving-kindne

May all beings be happy
May all beings live in safety and joy
May all beings be peaceful
May there be peace on earth
May there be peace on earth
May all beings everywhere awaken and be free
(Buddhist Prayer of Lovingkindness)

Sardarni Sahiba Gurunater Kaur Khalsa: Let us now offer a prayer in the Sikh tradition:
There is One Creator / Creation. In this awareness, we know that we are each a part of this creative consciousness, and that what flows through our creative consciousness is the Light of Truth, our True Identity. We pray to God, the Light of every soul, and to Guru, the life of every Sikh. Please guide all people to understand the true nature and power of woman and the wisdom she embodies to make conscious choices - to choose with her heart for the good of all. We recognize that she is the best judge of her needs and of those who are entrusted to her care. Please help us to cut through the clouds of divisive dogma that keep us apart. Help us to embrace the hearts of all who are trying to do the right thing. May we all recognize the common experience of love that we share and learn to work together to honor women and their right to choose, as only in respecting women will our civilization survive and prosper. Please guide our hearts, our words and our hands to serve your Will. Sat Nam.
(written for this service by Sardarni Sahiba Mata Mandir Kaur Khalsa)

A Litany of Challenge: Rev. Dr. Roselyn Smith-Withers, Patti Cohen-Hecht, Rabbi Malka Drucker
Written by Diann Neu, Co-Director of the Women Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual in Silver Spring Maryland,

Rev. Smith-Withers: As we pray together the Litany of Challenge, let us begin as a congregation by saying the phrase et us go forth and let us respond after each reader with that same phrase, et us go forth. We begin:

All: Let us go forth

Patti Cohen-Hecht: o stand, sit, cry, pray, with women making reproductive choices, especially the difficult choice for abortion.

All: Let us go forth
Rabbi Drucker: tell our political leaders to hold fast to the principle of upholding
the law; to tell our families and friends the truth about our own private and difficult life choices; and to speak out everywhere in support of every woman's decision

All: Let us go forth
Rev. Smith-Withers: o challenge our synagogues, churches and holy congregations to affirm women as moral agents.

All: Let us go forth...

Patti Cohen-Hecht: o encourage rabbis, ministers, priests and counselors to counsel women on free choice.

All: Let us go forth

Rabbi Drucker: the city, the barrio, the urban center, the suburb, and the village,
to let every American women know that her decisions, including her choice for abortion, are her right and responsibility as a being created to think, discern, and choose. Only a free person can act in a healthy and holy way.

All: Let us go forth
Patti Cohen-Hecht: n the name of the holy one, God of our mothers and God of our fathers, to bring about justice.

Song: We Are a Gentle, Angry People..Hazzan Sunny Schnitzer
Words and Music by Holly Near, used with permission

We are a gentle angry people and we are singing, singing for our live
We are a justice seeking people, and we are singing, singing for our live
We are young and old together
We are a land of many colorsWe are gay and straight togetherWe are a gentle, angry people
Benediction.Rev. Loey Powell

Words of Appreciationeverend Carlton W. Veazey