Johnson City Press: Life Chain Event set for Sunday Oct. 8.
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Life Chain Event set for Sunday Oct. 8.

Hannah Swayze • Updated Oct 7, 2017 at 11:34 AM

On Sunday, Oct. 8, from 2-3:30 p.m., volunteers will gather at three local churches for a time of prayer in observance of the 2017 Life Chain. 

Life Chain is a national and international event usually held on the first weekend of October where communities across the country gather together for 90 minutes to pray and protest the practice of abortion.

"It's a time of quiet prayer, it's non-confrontational, the participants hold different signs. Some of the signs even have prayers behind them. We do not engage. We do not wave or anything. We don't engage with cars, so we're just praying for and end of abortion," said Carolyn Merriman, Life Chain coordinator of Johnson City.

The Interfaith Life Chain Committee announced earlier this month that instead of the first weekend in coordination with the national event, this year’s event was delayed due to another religious event coordinated by local churches in the area.

This year's event will be dedicated to the initiator or the local Life Chain, Murv Perry, who died about two months ago.

"We want to be able to bring the message, I think, to pregnant women that there are alternatives to abortion. That's what we're praying for. We're praying that they have the realization that you don't have to take a child's life in order to make that decision, that's not the only option," Merriman said.

According to Merriman, it is an interfaith event and letters have been sent to over 100 local churches. Last year, the event was expanded to three different locations instead of just one. The number of participants has grown from 75 or 100 participants to 200. She said she is hoping to surpass that number this year.

Though this is a controversial subject, no counterprotests are planned or expected for this event.

Ruth Taylor Read, chairwoman of local organization Women Matter of Northeast Tennessee, says that she is acutely aware of the event and she is very respectful of those who are participating. She said she does not agree with their stance, and pointed out that there are no scriptural references in in the Bible that discuss the topic of abortion.

"There are plenty of references, though, that remind me that I have a responsibility as a Christian to pursue justice, and human dignity and Christian compassion and to remind others that accommodating what is really trendy right now is not rooted in justice. It's rooted in injustice," Read said.

Volunteers will gather at one of three local churches: Heritage Baptist Church, 1512 John Exum Parkway; University Baptist Church, 219 University Parkway; and Hosanna Fellowship, 715 Sunset Drive. Participants are also asked to bring diapers for local pregnancy help centers.

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