Ever wonder if the Orthodox faith is actually making a difference in someone’s life outside of the walls of a parish nave? Is anyone walking the walk, fighting the fight, with us here in the world, reaching students, and not retreating to a monastery?Wonder no more.
Projected onto a screen at the front of the room, a sepia-tinted orb gently pulses in a black abyss. Violin music swells as two circles suddenly appear inside the orb, quickly dividing into four, then eight, then too many to count. The words 24 hours. Baby’s first division appear on the screen.
The audience watches in respectful silence as the YouTube video progresses through the initial stages of human development — the miracle of life played out against a high-drama score. They are members of a anti-abortion student group at California State University in Northridge, where they have gathered in a chilly conference room on a sunny day in September to welcome a special guest: Emily Wilkinson, the 27-year-old West Coast regional coordinator of Students for Life, an anti-abortion network with 800 chapters at colleges and high schools across the country.
As the video ends, Wilkinson stands to address the group. “Thank you, guys! So good to be here,” she says. She is poised and smiling in a peasant skirt and Birkenstocks, a tiny braid woven into her long, auburn curls. “It’s exciting that school’s back in session, and it’s time to start making a difference on campus again,” she says in a warm but resonant tone.