BY KATHY SCHMUGGE
COLUMBIA — It was around 2 p.m. Oct. 2, and Alford (last name withheld by request) just could not find the right place to have lunch. He passed many of his favorite restaurants, but nothing seemed to appeal to him.
What caught his eye was a Life Chain forming in front of the State Capitol, with people holding signs with special messages while praying in silence for end to abortion and the pain it causes everyone involved. The Columbia Life Chain was one of 12 reported chains in South Carolina and one of thousands formed through out the country.
“I was looking for something to eat and ended up being fed spiritually instead,” he said.
Alford, who described himself as nondenominational, knew nothing about the Life Chain at the beginning of the afternoon but knew a lot about the message and the pain it was trying to prevent. He was a father at an early age and was faced with the option of abortion, made to be the most convenient choice. Fortunately his love for his unborn child prevailed and today when he looks at his 25-year-old son, he is glad he said yes to life.
In his first marriage, he found himself bewildered about his bride’s unexplained behavior and moods, only to find out that she had been suffering from the physical, spiritual, and mental effects of an abortion from a previous relationship.
“I would find her sometimes curled up in the bed in a fetal position, crying nonstop. How do you heal this?” he asked.
“By happening upon this Life Chain, I finally found an answer,” he said holding up a sign reading, “Jesus Forgives and Heals.”
“Abortion is such a tragedy for the mother, father, and family that we as well as participants all across the United States stood together in solidarity for one hour to witness and pray for an end to abortion,” said Annette Griebsch, Respect Life Coordinator for Immaculate Conception Church in Goose Creek. “It is our hope that we made a difference by bringing this to the attention of the public.” Griebsch was part of the Goose Creek Life Chain, which also had participants from Summerville, Hanahan, North Charleston, Moncks Corner, and Charleston Southern University.
“The Life Chain for me was an hour of hope for our future and for generations to come, and for thanking God for the blessing of witnessing in his name to others for their protection,” she said.
Hilton Head’s Life Chain also went well, with over 200 people participating. The island’s Life Chain has been providing silent witness for about 20 years.
Father Raymond Carlo, pastor of St. Michael Church in Garden City, was pleased with the turnout at their chain.
“It is important for us to mark Respect Life Sunday with action, not just words, and even a little effort like a Life Chain is important because it keeps consciousness of the fact there is another way to do things besides the way we are doing it in the world today,” said Father Carlo.
Joe Austin, a student at Spring Valley High in Columbia, stood at the state Capitol with his father, Steve.
“By standing here I let people see this message, and maybe it will change one person’s mind by making them think twice about the consequences it will have on their life and the lives of others,” said Joe Austin.
The number of chains seemed to have increased this year, and with the newly formed chains came new faces. Some people joined in prayer at the last minute.
For information about Life Chain, visit its Web site at www.lifechain