Photo: Chrissie Gillett, with Holleigh Hiller, at the 2019 LWML Convention in Mobile, Alabama.
As a ministry of Lutherans For Life (LFL), Word of Hope is a unique 24/7 national hotline devoted to intervening on behalf of life issues and imparting the value of all human life as divinely created and redeemed by Jesus Christ. Hotline callers are primarily men or women who have suffered for weeks, months, or years after participating in an abortion decision. Many of the hurting people describe overwhelming guilt, depression, anxiety, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, unwanted memories, or other symptoms of post-abortion syndrome. At Word of Hope, we respond to suffering with love, mercy, and confidential support, guiding each person with the Word toward reconciliation with God by the gift of faith in Christ alone.
At the peak of the ministry under founder Grace Kern, MSW, as many as 300 people connected with Word of Hope through the hotline or email each month. Over time, the ministry’s effectiveness was impacted by the need for Grace to singlehandedly operate the hotline, write literature, speak publicly, and procure funding. Grace’s decision to retire meant some tasks needed to be deferred and others postponed as the pursuit for a new director commenced. In April 2017, the search concluded when Deaconess Chrissie Gillet, PsyD, accepted the invitation to join the LFL team as the new Word of Hope Director.
The transition presented an opportunity to reflect on past successes and a vision for the future. Word of Hope aspires to be a national resource that offers supportive referrals and a Christocentric experience, with the hope that all people will be liberated from the overwhelming guilt associated with life-related issues, such as the suffering connected to abortion. To proceed in harmony with the vision, the focus of our efforts must address the need for knowledgeable staff, an online presence, updated technology, proper referral resources, revised publications, and collaboration with other agencies.
Due to the generosity of grants from organizations and donations given by additional dedicated supporters, we accomplished many goals to publicize the hotline. Word of Hope increased staff hours, acquired advanced software technology, revised media, exhibited at several conferences, and developed an informational packet that is being distributed nationally. Our ability to “have mercy on those who doubt [and] save others by snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 1:22-23a) is critically dependent on the compassion from people and organizations who also share in the true value of life. We are eager to partner with you—For Life!