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2024 March for Life

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 marked an opportunity to celebrate the sanctity of life as the Illinois March for Life was held in Springfield, IL. An estimated total of nearly 1,500 pro-life advocates from across the state gathered to worship, pray, and show united support, demonstrating peacefully with a speaker rally followed by the March around the Illinois State Capitol building.

Trinity Lutheran Church in Springfield, IL hosted a Matins service prior to the days’ activities.

Rev. Cory Estby, who currently serves as chairman of the LCMS Northern Illinois District’s Life Task Force, was happy to see such a wonderful turnout, in spite of this only being the second year the March has been held in this location. For several years, the March was previously held in Chicago. He was appreciative for the event’s hosts, “I am grateful to the Central Illinois District and Trinity Lutheran Church in Springfield for their hospitality in welcoming hundreds of Lutherans from around the state for this amazing day!”

Showing unity, the three Illinois LCMS District presidents (Timothy Scharr – SID, Michael Mohr – CID, Allan Buss – NID) share the rally platform.

Many LCMS Northern Illinois District congregation members were able to participate. Jackson Paul, a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Grant Park, IL, also a high school senior with aspiration to attend the seminary in the future, shared, “Today’s March is a great inspiration to pro-life Christians of all denominations and backgrounds! We are here to send a message to our elected representatives that we are proudly standing united for the right to life!”

Pro-life advocates from across the state gathered to worship, pray, and show united support at the 2024 March for Life.

The days’ activities began with a Matins service at Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Springfield. After lunch, a noontime rally was held on the Capitol steps in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln, with speakers including Tony McCombie, who serves as the minority leader of the Illinois House of Representatives, and Kristi Hofferber, a pro-life advocate who shares her personal story, among others. Rev. Michael Mohr, president of the LCMS Central Illinois District, concluded the rally with an inspirational message and prayer, having introduced the other two LCMS District presidents in attendance, Rev. Timothy Scharr, from the Southern Illinois District, and Rev. Dr. Allan Buss, from the Northern Illinois District. Hymns were sung while participants walked for the March for Life, and many signs were carried in support of the sanctity of life.

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, IL was the site for the 2024 Illinois March for Life.

Nancy Eden, from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Bourbonnais, IL, said, “It was so wonderful to be a part of the ‘sea of green hats’ representing all of the Lutherans at the March, showing how important it is to put our faith into action. I pray there will be many more Lutherans next year, who will make the time in their busy lives to go to Springfield and be a part of the March for Life, not only for the unborn, but the sanctity of life from the womb to the tomb. This is where we as Christians must lead the way in our broken society. It is a wonderful experience to join with so many people and stand for truth!!”

Pastor Estby was very encouraged by the unity shown during the rally, “The three Illinois LCMS District presidents (Timothy Scharr – SID, Michael Mohr – CID, Allan Buss – NID) standing together on the rally stage was an incredible sight which shows we truly are ‘Stronger Together’ in our life proclamation.”

Plans will soon be underway for the 2025 March for Life. Organizers look forward to seeing even more people taking the opportunity to show their conviction about, and support for, the sanctity of life! Stay tuned for more information in the months to come.

Rev. Cory Estby Serves as Chair of NID Life Task Force

With the guidance and recommendation of District staff along with Life Task Force members, a District Vice-President serves as triennial chair (with the other three regional VP’s serving as advisory helpers) in rotation for the LCMS Northern Illinois District Life Task Force. Pastor Estby serves in the role of chairman into 2025. Read more at nidnews.org/nid-life-task-force. Pastor Estby serves at Zion Lutheran Church in Grant Park, IL. He may be reached at pastorestby@yahoo.com.

Looking to the future

Life ministry has become an established ongoing mission of the LCMS Northern Illinois District. Educating people about life issues and providing opportunities to put faith into action is the dual focus. Established in 2015 by District President Dan Gilbert, the group was given the broad assignment of creating a pro-life climate within the NID over an initial two-year period and then establishing a continued presence moving forward.

The Life Task Force utilizes District communication vehicles (NID website nidlcms.org, NID Email Newsletter and the LCMS Northern Illinois District’s Facebook page).

“Our success over the initial two-year assignment has moved us to continue our efforts,” the NID Life Task Force shared. “We’ll be educating pastors and their congregations about current topics, such as the dangerous trend by institutions to not allow health professionals to ‘conscientiously object’ and abstain from tasks that violate their Christian beliefs. We’ll be sharing helpful resources and issuing calls to action to LCMS members throughout the district.”

Additionally, the Life Task Force is calling on Lutherans to support their local crisis pregnancy center. The following websites are offered for locating faith-based pregnancy resource centers by zip code:

The NID Life Task Force has formally accepted the following mission statement:

Affirming God’s will to create and sustain mortal life in the anticipation of life in Christ, the Northern Illinois District Life Task Force’s mission is to engage and equip congregations in the NID to be witnesses for life, enabled to speak, care, and educate.