COLUMBIA—For 24 years, Mary and James Hesson have stood along roads and highways in New York and South Carolina during October, holding signs with pro-life slogans and hoping the message reaches people whizzing by in cars.
The Hessons, who attend Our Lady of the Hills Church in Columbia, joined hundreds of others around South Carolina Oct. 3 for the annual Life Chain, traditionally held on the first Sunday of October.
“We do the best we can and leave the rest up to God,” Mrs. Hesson said as she stood on the corner of Forest Drive and Beltline Boulevard in Columbia, holding a sign that read “Life: The First Inalienable Right.”
About 50 people representing at least five different denominations attended the Columbia chain, including Anglicans, Catholics, Presbyterians, Assemblies of God and Baptists. The event in South Carolina and around the United States has become increasingly ecumenical in recent years, and has spread to more than 1,800 communities in the U.S. and Canada.
Life chain coordinators around the state reported an overall strong turnout: 400-500 people in Greenville, 127 in Myrtle Beach, 101 in Georgetown, 91 in Garden City, 80 in Charleston, 70 in Aiken, 50 in Conway and 20 in McCormick. Chains were also held in Spartanburg, Beaufort, Greenwood, Gaffney, Goose Creek and Rock Hill.
Sometimes Life Chain participants have to deal with negative remarks, catcalls or gestures from passing drivers, but many this year reported receiving the thumbs-up sign from drivers, honks and smiles from others.
“I’m just hoping people will see the sign and it will make them think the next time before they vote,” Mr. Hesson said. “God is behind this, and anything He is behind will work one way or the other. We’re out here to save souls.”
Sylvia Zeeff and her son Pieter Zeeff have taken part in Life Chain together for more than a decade, first as members of St. Jude Church in Sumter and now as members of Our Lady of the Hills.
“I’ve always been very strongly pro-life, and I just feel like this is something we need to do,” Mrs. Zeeff said.
The crowd that turned out in McCormick was smaller than in past years, but the experience was still good, said Donna Smith, a member of Good Shepherd Church and coordinator of the Life Chain. Smith said she spoke with two college-age women who stopped and said the Life Chain made them think about the need for a crisis pregnancy center and other pro-life activities in McCormick.
“We were smaller in numbers, but our message was certainly strong and the spirit was there,” she said.