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NEWS DIGEST: March for Life speakers announced; Open Doors restructured

March for Life announces speakers for 50th annual event – first post-Roe

WASHINGTON (BP) – Thursday (Jan. 5), the March for Life Education and Defense Fund announced additional speakers for the landmark 50th annual March for Life, which is the first in a post-Roe America, taking place on Jan. 20, 2023. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, who won the Dobbs Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade; Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse; Sister Mary Casey of the Sisters of Life; Dr. Christina Francis, CEO-Elect of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; and Gina Tomes, Program Director of the Bethlehem House maternity home, will join Jonathan Roumie, best known for his award-winning role as “Jesus” in THE CHOSEN, and Coach Tony Dungy, NYT bestselling author and Pro-Football Hall of Famer, in addressing Marchers this year.

The theme for this year’s March for Life – Next Steps: Marching Forward into a Post-Roe America” –emphasizes the need in the absence of Roe v. Wade for pro-life advocates to continue boldly marching in defense of the unborn – both on the state and federal level – and advocating for a minimum federal standard to protect innocent life against radical pro-abortion legislation.   

“We are overjoyed to welcome these inspiring leaders at this year’s 50th March for Life, the first in our post-Roe nation,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life Education and Defense Fund. “With Roe now behind us, we are empowered to save countless innocent American lives by continuing to advocate for commonsense protections at the state and federal level, educating Americans on the intrinsic dignity of all human life. This year will be a somber reminder of the millions of lives lost to abortion in the past 50 years, but also a celebration of how far we have come and where we as a movement need to focus our effort as we enter this new era in our quest to protect life.”  

The March for Life Rally Friday, Jan. 20th, 2023, begins at noon Eastern on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Speakers include:  

  • Jonathan Roumie, best known for his award-winning role as ‘Jesus’ in the groundbreaking series, THE CHOSEN, a drama about the life of Jesus Christ.    
  • Coach Tony Dungy, New York Times bestselling author and Pro-Football Hall of Famer
  • Dr. Christina Francis, CEO-Elect of AAPLOG  
  • Gina Tomes, Director of the Bethlehem House Maternity Home  
  • Sister Mary Casey, Sisters of Life
  • Casey Gunning, teacher’s assistant and lifelong athlete in the Special Olympics  
  • Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, who won the Dobbs Supreme Court case that overturnedRoe v. Wade

The Most Reverend Bishop Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington will lead the opening prayer, with Franklin Graham, American Evangelist and Missionary, delivering the closing prayer. Logan Earnest, a College Knight from George Washington University, will deliver the Pledge of Allegiance, and Ariel Walden will sing the national anthem.

We Are Messengers, the GMA Dove-nominated and K-LOVE Award-winning musical group, will perform the pre-rally concert.

Open Doors International, Open Doors USA restructure, end affiliation

By Diana Chandler

SANTA ANA, Calif. (BP) – Open Doors International and its previous subsidiary Open Doors USA restructured at the beginning of 2023, the religious persecution watchdog announced Jan. 3.

Open Doors International will continue its work in the U.S. through Open Doors U.S., under the leadership of Lisa Pearce, newly announced interim CEO of the U.S. national base.

The organization previously known at Open Doors USA will continue its work as Global Christian Relief, a new organization unaffiliated with Open Doors International and Open Doors U.S., the groups said.

David Curry, who previously led Open Doors USA, is now CEO of Global Christian Relief.

“In January of 2023, Open Doors USA and its leaders – to include its existing board of directors and CEO David Curry – relaunched as Global Christian Relief in order to expand its mission to serve persecuted Christians worldwide,” Curry told Baptist Press.

Open Doors US will release on Jan. 18 the 30th World Watch List of the 50 countries facing the most Christian persecution, Open Doors US said in its press release.

“Today Open Doors is a global ministry working in over 70 field countries and 24 support countries,” Pearce said. “The mission and vision of Open Doors remain unchanged – fully dedicated to the calling of its late founder Brother Andrew to serve persecuted Christians.”

The groups began considering the change in mid-2022.

“Starting in June 2022, the leadership of Open Doors International and Open Doors USA entered a period of discussion and prayerful discernment about their future relationship. How could each entity best fulfill its complementary missions and long-term strategies?” Curry said. “Both boards prayerfully agreed that their respective missions would be best achieved by moving forward without a formal affiliation.

“Both organizations remain committed to serving the persecuted church and will continue to work independently to advocate and mobilize support and prayer for this vital cause.”

Concurrent with the leadership of Global Christian Relief, Curry is serving on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

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