7 cities see ‘church’ services next to abortion facilities
EVERETT, Wash. — This city 28 miles north of Seattle is one of several locations nationally where an unusual multi-church effort is directly confronting what it considers the “gates of hell,” but whether the city will allow it to continue here is uncertain.
As reported by WND (WorldNetDaily), Christian Broadcasting Network and other media, a movement called The Church at Planned Parenthood is holding monthly worship services — often complete with a worship band and prayer teams — outside Planned Parenthood facilities in not only Everett but also in at least six other cities nationally.
Organizers of the assemblies emphasize strongly that they have a different purpose than protests of the abortions that occur at Planned Parenthood facilities.
“The Church at Planned Parenthood is NOT a protest,” states the effort’s website, thechurchatplannedparenthood.com. “It’s a worship service at the gates of hell. The Church at Planned Parenthood is a gathering of Christians for the worship of God and the corporate prayer for repentance for this nation, repentance for the apathetic church and repentance of our blood guiltiness in this abortion holocaust.”
Spokane, Wash., was the first city to see such a gathering; it happened Oct. 24, 2018. Pastor Ken Peters of Covenant Church there told CBN News he got the idea when he heard God tell him in the middle of a church service that his next church campus should be at Planned Parenthood. Peters said the gatherings seek to bring what he says is an abortion holocaust to light through the Holy Spirit and worship, instead of “in the flesh” by solely human effort.
With other churches supporting the effort and getting involved, turnout has been large. For example, one of the Spokane services from earlier this year had more than 300 people despite cold conditions, and about 65,000 more viewing on a Facebook feed.
Since then, the idea has spread from Spokane to Everett and Yakima in Washington; Indianapolis, Ind.; Chicago, Ill., Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Appleton, Wisc.
Matthew 16:18 states that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church,” and Peters firmly believes that when the church is taken right to those gates, it will ultimately win. But he said it requires the church to engage, with the light of Jesus, by taking a stand where innocent lives are being easily terminated.
According to WND, the gatherings have already drawn opposition from Everett’s city government, and the American Center for Law and Justice — a Christian-based legal rights agency based in Washington, D.C. — is monitoring the response. The church started holding monthly worship near the Planned Parenthood Everett Health Center last April.
In June, police confronted members, explaining that the city had adopted new procedures for event permits that the church would have to follow. Then in August, the Everett City Council passed an ordinance that would enable the city to prosecute offenses that interfere with a “health care facility,” such as making noise that disturbs the peace within the facility. WND noted that police have not yet moved to shut down the worship services, but those behind the gatherings remain concerned that the recent actions by Everett city leaders and police might indicate the city intends to interfere with the services soon.
In Spokane, the church services have been coordinated with the local police, the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper reported. Clay Roy, a director of the church services there who worked on logistics, said he did not need to get a permit because of the sidewalk accommodations and because the event aimed to not go over 90 decibels of sound. The Church at Planned Parenthood also has had a safety team in orange vests to ensure that those attending do not cross over into the area of the sidewalk chalked to give pedestrians room to walk.
But Planned Parenthood spokesman Paul Dillon told the Spokane newspaper the events nevertheless create issues of noise and pedestrian safety. He further charged that the gatherings are still protests rather than legitimate church services,, and that they seek to intimidate Planned Parenthood patients and workers. Dillon acknowledged that there haven’t been any physical altercations at the gatherings, but he said there is “violent rhetoric” that holds the potential to spark hateful acts.
For more information, go to thechurchatplannedparenthood.com