Pro-life work in southeast Arkansas is expanding thanks to the diocese’s Knights of Columbus.
On Dec. 14 the state council of the Knights of Columbus presented a check for $84,500 to Hope of the Delta, formerly known as Hope Women’s Resource Center, based in Pine Bluff.
The crisis pregnancy center, which also serves Stuttgart, Dewitt, Star City and Dumas, currently operates a 1990 retrofitted RV as a mobile unit, but it requires a lot of money and time for maintenance. With the Knights of Columbus donation, including $28,000 alone from the Knights in the Pine Bluff and Stuttgart area, Hope of the Delta is now lining up the purchase of a new Mercedes or Ford bus through Imagi-Motive with an ultrasound machine, exam table, bathroom, WiFi, generator and seating for clients.
With a more reliable unit, the center hopes to add Hensley (Pulaski County) and McGehee to its service area. The old RV could still be used in Pine Bluff for shorter trips, director Debra Burchfield said.
A lunch and presentation at St. John Center in Little Rock was organized by the diocese’s Respect Life Office with Bishop Anthony B. Taylor, members of the state Knights of Columbus council and Hope of the Delta supporters.
The state council was looking to raise $100,000 through July through its local councils but fell short of its goal. Burchfield said her agency will continue fundraising to pay for the remainder of the bus.
Burchfield, a member of Watson Chapel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, said she is pleased to see more ministry being done between the Catholic and Baptist congregations. Bishop Taylor said, “The Lord has used this effort to breathe life into the Church and get us to know each other and to appreciate the gifts each of us brings to further building his kingdom.”
Hope of the Delta, a ministry of Harmony Baptist Association, conducts about 1,000 pregnancy tests a year and offers ultrasounds through its full-time and part-time registered nurses. The center promotes chastity and does not provide birth control.
“My heart is so blessed to be here today,” said Burchfield, who wiped away tears during the presentation. “I have worked in this ministry for 14 years … It is always a blessing to see the women who choose life.”
Burchfield is not stopping at just serving Jefferson, Arkansas and Desha counties. She wants to also look further east toward West Memphis. She said many women drive “the highway to hell” from eastern Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee to Little Rock to get abortions.
“We will go anywhere God directs us,” Burchfield said.
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