Sylvia Johnson served as executive director of two Care Net-affiliated pregnancy care centers in the Houston suburbs. But she had a vision to open a facility where it was most needed: the inner city. Johnson told her dream to John Keeler, who volunteered at the centers.
Keeler, a commercial real estate broker, identified a building to lease and others lent their expertise as well. A friend from Johnson's Bible study, Richard Rainer, oversaw the remodeling, rallying building contractors, carpenters, electricians, and plumbers to donate materials and labor.
The Houston Fifth Ward Pregnancy Help Center opened last year. In August, 45 abortion-minded clients changed their minds and decided to keep their babies. Forty women and girls who visited the center became Christians. Before the Fifth Ward facility opened, neighborhood residents had to ride three different buses to reach the nearest pregnancy care center.
Johnson's experience represents a new paradigm in the pro-life movement. Pregnancy care centers are opening in the inner city, staffed by volunteers from various neighborhood churches. Eight area churches staff the Fifth Ward center with 60 volunteers.
"We should have been here 15 years ago, but thank God we're here now," Johnson says. "If we plug these women who accept Christ into churches, this entire nation could be changed."
Johnson isn't alone in seeing a need. Two years ago, Care Net, which has helped develop 975 pregnancy centers, began identifying underserved major metropolitan areas, according to president Kurt Entsminger. Besides the center in Houston, 15 independent centers have opened with Care Net's logistical and financial support in cities such as Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. They typically provide ...1