Participating congregations “advertise” their commitment to life by placing a Gabriel “Sign of Life” in front of their church. The sign with its toll-free hotlines assures every mother that the local church community cares for her and her family and that they are prepared to offer her immediate and practical help.
How We Began
Great Lakes Gabriel Project began as a ministry in 1998 at St. Bartholomew Church in Columbus, Indiana – 50 miles south of Indianapolis.
While we were looking at other Gabriel Projects in Texas, Maryland and California, a young pregnant woman came to our church and asked for help. She had just moved to Columbus, could not speak English and was due in six weeks. The local pregnancy care center would not care for Maria (not her real name) because she was not documented.
With our research incomplete and having had no formal training in being a Gabriel Project, we started caring for Maria. By the end of the first year the word had spread through the community and we had helped 18 pregnant Moms – all from Mexico.
The local Knights of Columbus installed two local telephone lines and paid for the lines and for two toll-free numbers – one for English and one for Spanish. Two local OB/GYNs volunteered to provide pre-natal care for the undocumented women, who’s Medicaid of Indiana covered only the costs of a normal labor and delivery.
We were invited to participate in local hospital committees formed to improve services for pregnant women. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis gave us approval to carry out our project and provide leadership to other churches throughout the archdiocese.
Becoming the Body of Christ
We soon became a network of churches, otherwise known as the Body of Christ, providing peer-counseling about abortion and immediate and practical help to women and families experiencing difficult or unplanned pregnancies.
We grew to include churches all over the state of Indiana and in 2004 we formed a board and incorporated as The Gabriel Project, Inc. in the state of Indiana. Today we have churches in Michigan, Ohio and New York and we have provided training to start the Gabriel Project in Illinois.
40 Days for Life – Indy
Fall, 2007 brought a national movement called 40 Days for Life. Great Lakes Gabriel Project (GLGP) sponsored the program and led the community in prayer 12 hours a day and all night Saturday in front of the largest abortion center in Indiana – Planned Parenthood - at 8590 Georgetown Road – just south of 86th St. in Indianapolis.
We had already been working by phone with local sidewalk counselors at all four abortion centers in Indianapolis. Providing prayer support 12 hours a day at Planned Parenthood deepened and enriched our relationship with the sidewalk counselors.
Starting in 2009 GLGP sponsored 40 Days for Life – Indy in the fall and during lent in the spring.