Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Safe Place: The Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center

Hands-on teaching — The Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center educates clients about option for pregnancy, adoption, parenting and abortion.

From the front, it just looked like an unassuming one-story house, except for the driveway large enough to hold painted lines for multiple parking spaces. Walking up the front steps, the heavy glass paned doors become evident as well. What would be the living room, however, is richly decorated and warmly colored, with a bright oil paint mural stretching across the far wall at the other end of the room.

“That oil painting of the Garden of Eden, symbolizing God as the Creator of Life, was done by two E.C. Glass High School students, and the play box that surrounds the children’s play area was built by an Eagle Scout for one of his projects,” Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center (BRPC) Executive Director Lori Meetre said.

She then walks down the hallway leading to various decorated sitting rooms, small and intimate, meant for frank, yet confidential discussions of life-changing topics.

“This is where we meet with clients to talk with them about circumstances in life, options for their pregnancy and most importantly about the gospel.  We share the gospel with all of our clients because we believe that no matter what a woman’s crisis Jesus is her greatest need.” Meetre said.

As you walk further through the building, however, there are many more rooms than expected, some of them, like the Mommy and Me Boutique,  filled to bursting with practical resources for Moms including maternity clothes, baby clothes, diapers, wipes, formula and any number of items children need through age two.  Anything that has been donated to the Center is made available to the women who participate in “Parenting and Life Skills” which teaches skills for parenting and life.  The Center offers Bible studies, parenting classes and ongoing peer counseling as part of the PLS program.  The unfinished basement has been transformed into a cozy meeting space by a local Sunday School class.

“This is for the parenting groups as we watch videos in the class curriculum. This room was made to make more space upstairs for meetings with crisis clients,” Meetre said.

BRPC was established in 1999 thanks to “a combined effort by Lynchburg-area Christians who were concerned with the need for a ‘crisis center’ that would provide a pro-life alternative to women with unplanned pregnancies,” according to their website.

The Center has approximately 115 volunteers, which include peer counselors.  There are a myriad of ways for people who are passionate about life to get involved, according to Development Director Stephanie McBride.  The ministry gets a steady stream of volunteers and donors throughout the year, many of them from various church groups and local organizations as well as many of Liberty students.

“People can donate in three ways, with their time, money or talent,” McBride said.

The Center relies entirely on donations and grants, none of their funding is received from the government.

The Center specifically features free pregnancy testing and counseling, free limited obstetrical ultrasound, parenting and life skills programs, prayer and evangelical ministries, abstinence training and referrals to other community resources.

“All of our services are free and confidential however, we are not a full service medical facility so we do refer to an outside medical practice for further care throughout their pregnancy,” Meetre said.

Although BRPC educates their clients on all of their options — adoption, abortion and parenting, they never advocate or refer for abortions.

“We do not in any case make abortion referrals. We will educate them on the abortion procedure, risks and consequences, but we do not make any referrals. We do refer clients to places such as the Liberty Godparent Home as well as other adoption agencies,” Meetre said.

“One of the things we are most blessed with is our ultrasound capability.  Although the services we offer are limited, studies show that when women are able to see an ultrasound image of their unborn child that 80 percent will choose life for their baby,” Meetre said.

The Center also offers a men’s ministry for the men in their client’s lives.

“The man in the relationship is half of the equation and he plays an important part in what a woman will decide, ” Meetre said.

The Center is working on establishing mens’ bible study groups, and they currently offer one-on-one peer counseling for men.

“It’s one thing for a woman to give advice to a man about what being a Christian man really looks like, but it makes more of an impact when they hear it from another man,” she said.

The ministry also offers a post-abortion ministry for women struggling with psychological and emotional issues after abortion, whether it is 3 days or 30 years after the fact.

“People argue that women do not suffer any consequences to abortion, but many do experience symptoms that are similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, including nightmares, flashbacks, uncontrolled anger and substance abuse,” Meetre said.

For more information about the Center, how to become involved or scheduling a tour, please contact Stephanie McBride at (434) 528-9750 or visit their website at blueridgepc.org.

“We offer compassionate care and accurate information. It is our goal to educate women on all aspects of abortion and pregnancy. When a woman has a crisis pregnancy, she has three options – abortions, adoption and parenting, and we educate them on all of those options,” Metree said. “I just want women to know that they have a safe place to come and gain godly counsel in a time of crisis.”

Edwards is the feature editor.

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