April Ministry of the Month: St. Alexis ACROD, Battle Ground, IN
Ministry Leader: Matushka Joanne Allard


Tell us about yourself!
I’m married to the priest at our parish and he has been in the ministry for 23 years. I have been his partner in that. We served for 12 years in Lutheran parishes  before coming to Orthodoxy. We have one son. I have been retired for ten years but was a special needs teacher for almost all my career. I also served as a school principal for 12 years. My retirement job, if you want to call it a job, is working with our local pregnancy resource center, Bravely Women’s Health.

What is your background in the pro-life movement?
I’ve been involved in pro-life activities most of my adult life.  As a mom, I am conscious of all the challenges motherhood brings. As a teacher, I was faced with young women over the years that got pregnant and did not have any clue what they were doing.  Of course, the popular opinion was that they were too young to have a baby and that they needed to have an abortion. Through those experiences, I saw the importance of having not just a shoulder to cry on, but someone who could mentor these new mothers.

I first heard about our local pregnancy resource center when we moved to Lafayette. So, I first got involved as a volunteer. I did some summer sessions with groups of young mothers. This soon morphed into also working with the program that provides clothing and diapers and formula. Now. . . I’m there two or three times a week. It’s been a great way for me to share, not just my faith, but my practical experiences as both a mother and a teacher.

How does your parish work with your local pregnancy center?
As a parish, we had been involved with the local pregnancy resource center for many years before we knew about Orthodox Christians for Life. We have been involved in everything from fundraising to diaper drives. We do clothing drives and we have done the baby bottle campaign. But, it is an effort by the whole parish. When people ask ‘who is a member of your OCLife ministry,’ it’s technically everybody. It’s not a club. It’s part of what we do every day for outreach and benevolence and everybody is involved in some way.

Why is the pro-life cause important to you? 
I think it is important as Christians for us to understand that to be pro-life means more than just waving a flag or dropping a few coins in a bottle.  That’s not what is important. While it can play a role, it is more important to live out your faith and what we believe as Orthodox Christians every day. And this is one way we can do that. Maybe for some people, it’s a small way, but you shouldn’t feel bad about that. Your little contribution will make a big impact.




How is your parish working to educate the youth about abortion?
It has become a part of our larger Christian education program. We need to instill in them the idea that Christianity is not just a belief system, it’s a way of life. So, if you say you’re a Christian, here are the things that Christians do. As Christians, we are called to go out into the world and do things. You can’t just sit in your prayer corner and pray, although even that’s a good thing. You must get out there and “do” as well. We work to involve the littlest ones  in any project the larger parish is involved in. That shows them that nobody is too little to be able to have a great impact.

Do you have any words of encouragement for parishes that are considering joining OCLife?
Don’t be afraid. If you are honest in your expression of your faith and you pray to God to support you, He will not let you down. Don’t be afraid to just step out there, especially when it is such a worthy mission. It is okay to start small. You can start with one event or one thing, and build from there. If you wait to have that group of 50 people, you may never start because you never think it’s the right time.

I’m so pleased that OCLife has been revived and is really expanding. It’s so important for us as Orthodox Christians to join this nationwide effort. We need to stand up and make our beliefs known to the world.