End of Year Report 2010-2011
This report of the Right to Life Fellowship at Yale Divinity School catalogues in a creative magazine-like presentation the accomplishments of the group in the 2010-2011 academic year. The report also features insightful reflections from several of its members.
<ul><li><p>A New Voice</p><p>Right to Life FellowshipYale Divinity SchoolEnd-of-Year Report 2010-2011</p></li><li><p>A New</p></li><li><p>Voice</p><p>3</p><p>At Yale Divinity School</p><p>A Message from the President of the Right to Life Fellowship !!</p><p>Mission Statement of the Right to Life Fellowship</p><p>Accomplishments! March for Life! Constitution Committee Reform! Dinner and Dialogue over Capital Punishment! Life-Affirming Pregnancy Workshop! Pro-Life Rosary! Right to Life Fellowship Blog</p><p>Financial Report</p><p>Reflections! Juliette Jeanfreau 13! Josh McCormick 12! Eric Gregory, Vice President 13</p><p>Budget Proposal 2011-2012</p><p>Thanksgiving</p><p>Contents: 4</p><p>6</p><p>7</p><p>15</p><p>16</p><p>20</p><p>21</p></li><li><p>4A New Voice...</p><p>A Message from the President of the Right to </p><p>Life Fellowship</p><p>Craig A. Ford, Jr., M.A.R. 12</p><p>Roman Catholic</p><p>! As I reflect on the title of this end-of-year Report, A New Voice, I am amazed at the first year that weve had, if for no other reason than that we actually have not been an official student group for the entire length of the academic year, yet we have been able to accomplish so much. The Right to Life Fellowship was officially recognized by the Community Life Committee, a standing committee of the General Faculty of the Divinity School, in November of 2010. In the span of just five months, we have done an extraordinary number of events (as you will soon see as you explore this report): We sponsored a trip to the national March for Life in Washington D.C. in January 2011; we hosted a Dinner and Dialogue Event over the topic of Capital Punishment with a guest speaker from the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty (CNADP); we sponsored a Life-Affirming Pregnancy Advocacy Workshop with two co-directors from Birthright International, a network of Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers with a branch in nearby Hamden, CT; we assisted the Constitution Committee of the Yale Divinity School Student Council as it deliberated about Constitutional reform; and last, but certainly not least, we worked with the Roman Catholic Fellowship to sponsor a Pro-Life Rosary that we conducted in Marquand Chapel during the season of Lent. </p><p>! We also have made a tremendous number of friendships as an organization at Yale University. One for which we are most grateful is with the Choose Life at Yale (CLAY) Pro-Life group, an organization composed primarily of undergraduates who also endeavor to discover a way to bring the Pro-Life message of love, compassion, and healing to a world that is greatly in need of it. A second friendship is that with the Hamden branch of the international crisis pregnancy center, Birthright. This particular branch is headed by two women dedicated to helping other women have babies in a world that is turning a deaf ear to the needs of pregnant women and expectant fathers. These friendships, in addition to our individual accomplishments as a group, bode well for us. So as you celebrate the accomplishments </p></li><li><p>5...In Honor of Life</p><p>of the past with us, I hope that you keep at the forefront of your mind our bright future. ! There is also an aspect of this report to which I would like to add a bit of a personal reflection. While the activities of the Right to Life Fellowship have certainly been unprecedented, they are in no way the reflections of new sentiments at Yale Divinity School. If I were to take this observation into account in a more critical way, the title of this report would have to be rendered something like A Louder Voice. Truthfully, what the Right to Life Fellowship has done for Yale Divinity School is to provide a forum where people who already embrace the pro-life ethic can find the strength that lies in numbers to uncover ways of sharing such an ethic with their peers. To many of us, myself included, the issues that the pro-life movement engages have grabbed us by our hearts and have invited us to join in a journey towards creating a world where peace will certainly be the product of justice. The events that we have created for the wider Yale Divinity School community, then, are the products of our heart-felt need to share, explore, and endeavor to create a world in which Christs words come to a much needed realization: I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly (Jn. 10:10). </p><p>! Every event recognized in the following pages is the product of all of the pro-life voices in our Fellowship. It has been my extreme honor, privilege, and blessing to stand at the head of these voices which are, through our Fellowship, now amplified. As President, I wish to dedicate this report to all of my fellow members, whose presence in this group not only creates its voice, but whose presence also constitutes its very heartbeat.</p></li><li><p>DSPro LifeY</p><p>The Right to Life Fellowship at Yale Divinity School is an ecumenical and interfaith fellowship of students, faculty, staff, and administrators dedicated to defending human life through words and actions, through witness and ministry, and through community activities and spiritual exercises. The Right to Life Fellowship opposes every practice that vitiates the value of human life. We explicitly identify abortion as such a practice. </p><p>While Christian beliefs, such as the belief that humans are made in the image of God, inform our opposition to abortion, we recognize that other religious and philosophical traditions also support a pro-life ethic. We welcome this diversity as a testament to the fundamental nature of a respect for human life. </p><p>Although The Right to Life Fellowship begins by affirming the value of the unborn, it does not end there. We believe that a pro-life ethic must inform our understanding of human value from conception to death. We also seek to discern how a coherent pro-life ethic speaks to issues such as poverty, arms proliferation, war, capital punishment, and the treatment of the elderly.</p><p>Our Mission </p><p>6</p></li><li><p>Accomplishments</p></li><li><p>A New Voice</p><p>8</p><p> I'm not quite sure I knew what I was getting into when I signed on to go with the RTLF to Washington for the annual March for Life and the Bishop O'Connor Conference at Georgetown University. Granted, I probably should have had a better idea given that Craig was behind this shindig, but alas, I was suckered into the weekend adventure. We stayed with a guy named Ace Factor and his roommates. I'm not kidding about the guys name. I took a picture of his nameplate as proof. Their home, owned by the Georgetown chapter of the Knights of Columbus, acted as a kind of headquarters for much of the conference. There were guests strewn about the house (we claimed a small room upstairs for our YDS contingent to hide out in), and the emcee of the conference was one of our hosts. The conference itself was well done, I thought. It was also very, very Catholic in flavor. Which is by no means meant as a criticism, but did mean that for yours truly, the lone Protestant in our group (and possibly the conference as a whole), it was a bit of a fish out of water experience. Nevertheless, many of the sessions at the conference were interesting and informative. Something that was quite </p><p>March for Life 2011A Reflection by Alex Marshall</p></li><li><p>at the March for Life</p><p>9</p><p>impressive about both the conference and the mass later at the National Basilica was the vigor with which issues of life were taken on by this overwhelmingly Catholic crowd. There was certainly a sense of sacredness attached to the issue and an energy and enthusiasm for the movement we were there to represent. The next day at the March itself I think almost every freshman Republican Congressman, fresh off a successful mid-term campaign, wanted to make a "brief" speech to the massive crowds on the mall on which we found ourselves. Eventually our group got antsy and determined it was time to start marching. So we did, and somehow everyone else decided to follow us. Which was a pretty cool deal. Again, the overwhelming sense of the day was the vibrancy and strength of the movement, embodied in the form of a massive wave of people rolling toward the Supreme Court building. It was quite an impressive sight.</p></li><li><p>A New Voice...</p><p>10</p><p> One of the legacies of the Right to Life Fellowship for the 2010-2011 year will certainly be its hospitality, and, as may perhaps be surprising to some members of the YDS community, its other legacy will be its willingness to engage issues other than abortion. In fact, so resolute was the RTLFs decision to engage the entire spectrum of the pro-life ethic that it made its first official event involving the entire YDS community a dinner and dialogue over the capital punishment. This event certainly lived up to its name. Upon entering the common room, guests at the dinner found that they were welcomed with cups of wine, handshakes, and warm conversations both with familiar faces and with new faces. Dinner consisted of an impressive selection of options: two different salads, vegetarian lasagna, pork loin, potatoes, green beans, and dinner rolls, followed by an assortment of cheesecakes for dessert. </p><p> Filled stomaches were not left wanting for an engaging topic of conversation either, since the presentation given by Bo Chamberlin, field organizer for the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty (CNADP), entitled, Doing Justice and Loving Mercy: Capital Punishment and the Sanctity of Life presented YDS with a powerful array of arguments---economic, political, and moral--- for the abolition of the death penalty. After his 45-minute presentation, nearly thirty people, all representing different communities within Yale University, talked about Bos ideas at the four round tables they occupied. (One table remained in conversation one whole hour after the event had ended!) The Right to Life Fellowship cannot wait to do another event like this one in the future. Its success indicates that this will be a productive way not only to engage controversial topics in the future, but also to engage the hungry stomachs of the scholars and ministers that YDS is preparing for the world beyond its walls. </p><p>Dinner and Dialogue Over Capital Punishment</p></li><li><p>...For Social Justice</p><p>A New Voice on the Student Council: </p><p>The Right to Life Fellowship and Constitutional Reform </p><p> All Community-Life Committee groups, as a condition of their acceptance as an official student group, are asked to provide a representative to the Student Council. The RTLF was officially received onto the student council on January 10, 2011. Among issues debated at the time were constitutional reforms that would make the Council more efficient. </p><p> As a service to the Student Council, the President and the Vice-President of the Right to Life Fellowship prepared an eighteen page report addressing how the Council could become more efficient. After researching the Student Council Constitution and By-laws, examining the minutes of past meetings, and conducting interviews with various administrators and council members, the RTLF determined that the way to accomplish this goal was by creating an agreement between a putative representative of a CLC group to the Council and the elected members of the Council, specifying the actions needed to be on the Council. The RTLF offered this solution in direct contrast to proposals that sought merely to eliminate existing members on the Council with the hope of the Council then becoming more efficient thereafter. </p><p>11</p></li><li><p>A Ne</p><p>w Vo</p><p>ice..</p><p>.Life-Affirming Pregnancy </p><p>Advocacy Workshop </p><p>12</p><p> On Saturday, March 26, 2011, Denise Romania and Rita Cleary of Birthright spoke to the YDS Right to Life Fellowship and other interested persons about their work as crisis pregnancy counselors. We watched a 20 minute video about the founding of Birthright and then questions followed. From the video, we learned that Birthright started as an organization to support pregnant women. They wanted to provide a safe, non-judgmental space to support women who wanted to keep their babies. Now Birthright is a nation-wide (even international, as there are centers in Canada and Africa) organization which continues to support pregnant women. Run mainly by volunteers, Birthright prides itself on offering friendship to pregnant women. While some centers do provide minimum material assistance, this particular organization views itself primarily as a sounding board for women considering abortion; they offer emotional support for women wanting to be empowered to keep their baby. </p><p>A Reflection by Kate Jackson</p></li><li><p>...For Better Options</p><p>13</p><p>A New Voice in Pro-Life Spirituality</p><p>The Right to Life Fellowship and the Roman Catholic Fellowship Sponsor a Pro-Life Rosary During Lent 2011</p><p> Following up on its mission to engage the pro-life ethic through spiritual exercises, the RTLF approached the Roman Catholic Fellowship with the opportunity to sponsor jointly a weekly praying of the Rosary on every Tuesday during Lent that Divinity School classes were in session. This was an extraordinary opportunity for all of those involved, as it was not only a great way for those who already pray the Rosary to deepen their practice of this devotion, but it was also an excellent opportunity for those not familiar with the Rosary to engage in an ecumenical activity grounded in Pro-Life principles.</p><p>After the video, students asked questions. Students were interested in Birthrights non-political stance. Rita explained that politics are complicated and that they see themselves as supporting women one-on-one, not through policy. When asked what Birthright offers as opposed to Planned Parenthood, Rita responded, friendship. Rita and Denise gave the Right to Life Fellowship a poster and pregnancy resource list for us to post and share with YDS. </p><p>A delicious lunch and fellowship followed.</p></li><li><p>14</p><p>A New Voice...</p><p>...On the Internet</p><p> Endeavoring to continue the conversations surrounding the pro-life ethic outside of our planned events, the Right to Life Fellowship created a blog that went live on February 26th, 2011. In almost no-time, the blog was a success! Just in its first four days as an active site, the blog received 220 views, and in its first two months the blog received over 500 views. The blogs first entry was made by RTLF President Craig Ford, and his post was entitled We Need Something Better Than This Planned Parenthood. The post, which was a contribution to the national debate that erupted over the opportunity to remove federal funding from Planned Parenthood, argued that our nation should set its sights, and its monies, on solutions that constructively attack the causes of poverty and injustice that lead women, men, and families to feel that they need abortion instead of placing those funds in the hands of Planned Parenthood. In other words, the act of giving money to an organization like Planned Parenthood, which is founded on a philosophy that believes that abortion-on-demand is necessary, ultimately does not help our nation rise above the structures of injustice that lead many women to abortion. As Ford writes with great compassion, We must be a people of hope and courage to bring about a just reality, a real...</p></li></ul>