The April weather was chilly, but the beautifully decorated banquet hall at The Heights UB Church was warm with love and grace as 270 people gathered to celebrate Life and all God is doing to protect it through Heartbeat. The theme was a new life... a new heartbeat.
After opening praise by Brennen Kelly and prayer and testimony from Pastor Mark Blakeley, guests enjoyed a delicious meal and good fellowship. Following coffee and dessert, a powerful program of music, video and dynamic speaking explained the impact of an ultrasound on a woman considering abortion.
We heard from a courageous young mom who changed her mind after seeing an ultrasound of her son the evening before her abortion appointment. Baby-Jason was rescued from the brink of death by an ultrasound and we had the privilege of meeting him! As only God could orchestrate, the Heartbeat Hero who sponsored this mom financially and prayerfully was able to meet her and put a face to the name she had been lifting up in prayer for months.
The featured speaker, Tia Ciferno, the Executive Director of a women's center in Warren, Ohio, offered a clarifying message of the hope that comes with considering the possibilities of a different journey. Through video footage guests were given a tour of the new ultrasound center recently opened in East Liverpool. It is a place of beauty and peace where abortion vulnerable women can find truth and grace. All services are free and confidential and performed in a professional medical environment. The story of God providing resources and man-power to complete the facility's renovations is faith-building!
The executive director, Linda Dankert, shared about the next phase of growth for Heartbeat in their parenting program. By launching a program called Earn While You Learn, parents are able to learn parenting skills, earn points to purchase parenting supplies and break the devastating legacy of struggling parents in our community.
Generous underwriters provided financial support for the banquet so that tickets were free, but guests responded to God's prompting with overwhelming generosity as they pledged in excess of $40,000. Since the ministry receives no government funding, these gifts will be combined with the proceeds from the annual Walk for Life (held the second Saturday of October) to provide a significant portion of Heartbeat's annual operating budget. The evening ended as everyone joined together to sing the Doxology, giving God the glory for His goodness. It truly was a sacred evening set apart for Him.
Heartbeat extends a special appreciation to:
- the gracious vision hosts who showed such wonderful hospitality to our guests
- Our Guardians (Interstate Communications and ConnectionMade Design)
- Our Advocates (Cathy Diddle, Jean and Marion Perkins and Kim Cooper)
- Our Supporters (Campbell Signs and Apparel, Pastor Joe and Kay Cilone, St. Clair Storage Units, and Calcutta Health Care)
- Our Heroes (Kevin and Georgia Morris, Keystone Printing, Hope Christian Fellowship, L&B Catering, Anonymous, Vickie Kerr, T&M Hardware and Rentals, Tri-State Supplies, LLC, and Courtney Sattler)
- Generous Volunteers (Heartland Christian School, American Spirit Academy, Trinity Parish Youth Group, Brittney Marino, Dennis Giambroni, Sam Giambroni, Frank Russo, Alf Butler, John Dankert)
- The Heights UB Church
- the many faithful supporters of Heartbeat
Be sure to mark your calendars for next year's banquet on April 12, 2018. We would love to see you there!