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Memorial to the Missing

Loading pennies into the Memorial to the Missing

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  • Penny Delivery, March 8, 2007 – 7:01
  • Memorial to the Missing Celebration Service (part 1) – 10:39
    Introduction by Dr. Jimmy Porter, MS Baptist Christian Action Commission Executive Director-Treasurer. Prayer by Dr. Clarence Cooper, MS Baptist Convention President. “Majesty Medley” led by L. Graham Smith, MBCB Church Music Department Director.
  • Memorial to the Missing Celebration Service (part 2) – 13:20
    Testimonies by Kim Slade, member of Pineview Baptist Church in Clinton, and Janet Thomas, executive director of Pro-Life Mississippi and member of Pinelake Baptist Church in Brandon.
  • Memorial to the Missing Celebration Service (part 3) – 5:09
    “God’s Lordship and Grace Medley” led by L. Graham Smith, MBCB Church Music Department Director.
  • Memorial to the Missing Celebration Service (part 4) – 3:32
    “Memories for the Missing” sung by Lisa Leavell, member of First Baptist Church in Jackson.
  • Memorial to the Missing Celebration Service (part 5) – 15:13
    Message by Dr. Jim Futral, MBCB Executive Director-Treasurer.
  • Memorial to the Missing Celebration Service (part 6) – 2:24
    “God Bless America” led by L. Graham Smith, MBCB Church Music Department Director.
  • “Memories for the Missing” music video – 3:31
    Sung by Lisa Leavell, member of First Baptist Church in Jackson. Lyrics by Jerry Mixon, MBCB Stewardship Department Director. Music by Eva Hart, member of First Baptist Church in Jackson.

“Memories for the Missing” Copyright © 2006 Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission

Lead Story from the November 13, 2008, Baptist Record

“Memorial to Missing declared filled”

50 Million Remembered photo

50 MILLION REMEMBERED — The Memorial to the Missing at the Baptist Building stands in mute testimony to the 50 million lives that have been lost to legalized abortion since 1973. Each penny in the Memorial represents one of the 50 million babies that has been killed since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state abortion laws and opened the door to abortion nationwide during the entire nine months of pregnancy. (Photo by William H. Perkins Jr.)

By William H. Perkins Jr.
Editor

Mississippi Baptists have finished filling the Memorial to the Missing with 50 million pennies, but no one is celebrating the milestone.

That’s because each penny inside the Memorial, located on the grounds of the Baptist Building in Jackson, represents a child that has been killed since the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 legalized abortion nationwide during the entire nine months of pregnancy.

Jimmy Porter, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission, announced at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Baptist Convention October 28-29 at First Church, Jackson, that the two-and-a-half year campaign to memorialize all the lives that have been lost to legalized abortion in America has been completed.

“The sad part is, the abortion toll in this country has gone well over 50 million since we began the Memorial. While the Memorial cannot hold any more pennies, the abortions continue,” Porter said.

“I want to thank the churches for their involvement and for bringing their pennies to the Memorial. They were faithful to see this project through to completion. I don’t think there is anything that has caught the attention of Mississippi Baptists like this one project. Wherever I go, people ask me about the Memorial. It is a joy to tell them, ‘Yes, it’s filled,’” Porter said.

Jim Futral, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, said, “It is encouraging to live in the state that is recognized as the most pro-life in the country. We are grateful to all the people, many of them Mississippi Baptists, who have made that statement possible.

“We have only one abortion clinic left in the entire state, and we pray that it will go out of existence due to non-use. Thank you, Mississippi Baptists, for the prayer and care and resources that you poured into the Memorial. You have made a significant statement to America and the world.”

The Memorial opened on Mother’s Day weekend of 2006 with a statewide rally to dedicate the campaign to the glory of God and place the first pennies in the container, located on the northwest corner of the Baptist Building property in downtown Jackson facing the State Capitol.

About 20 million pennies were brought to the Memorial that day. Since then, a steady stream of pennies from Mississippi Baptist churches and individuals has been placed in the Memorial until the 50 millionth penny was deposited a few weeks ago.

For the Babies photo

FOR THE BABIES — A plaque resting in front of the Memorial to the Missing at the Baptist Building in downtown Jackson explains the true meaning of the just-completed Mississippi Baptist campaign to memorialize the 50 million children lost to legalized abortion in America. (Photo by William H. Perkins Jr.)

The massive, 13’ x 7’ container that holds the pennies is constructed of heavy tubular steel and polycarbonate sheeting – commonly known as bullet-proof glass. Reinforced concrete pilings 14 feet deep support the 140 tons of pennies now in the Memorial. Laws Construction Company of Jackson provided the construction labor free of charge.

“Every year, millions of people visit Washington, D.C., and see the Vietnam Memorial. On that black slab are 58,249 names of young men and women who gave their lives in Vietnam, but that doesn’t begin to compare to the millions of children in America who have lost their lives silently, in sterile environments as they have died, day after day,” Futral said on the day the Memorial opened.

Porter said the Memorial will stay in place for a period of time, its towering wall of pennies standing in mute testimony to the lives lost to legalized abortion in America.

“The focus is on the babies, as it should be, and not the pennies,” Futral said.

When the Memorial is finally emptied, the totality of donations to the campaign will be placed in a special account with the Mississippi Baptist Foundation to be used for pro-life programs and causes.

Contributions are still being accepted for the Memorial, Porter added. “We have reached the design limits of the Memorial with the 50 million pennies inside, but we will continue to remember the babies in this special way. Churches and individuals can continue to contribute. We will still be accepting pennies, but it would be better now if donations were in the form of checks designated to the Memorial to the Missing.”


For more information on the Memorial to the Missing, contact the Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission at P.O. Box 530, Jackson, MS 39205-0530. Telephone: (601) 292-3329 or toll-free outside Jackson (800) 748-1651, ext. 329. E-mail: rmccollum@christianaction.com. Web site: www.christianaction.com.


Lead Story from the March 22, 2007, Baptist Record

“Memorial receives 20-ton penny deposit”

Raining Pennies photo

RAINING PENNIES — The first of ten 2,000-pound bags of pennies is deposited in the Memorial to the Missing located outside the Baptist Building in Jackson. The Memorial is designed to hold 50 million pennies — each one a remembrance for a baby that has been aborted in America since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 legalized abortion in all 50 states throughout all nine months of pregnancy. (Photo by William H. Perkins Jr.)

By William H. Perkins Jr.
Editor

It was a sight rarely encountered in downtown Jackson — or anywhere else, for that matter — when $30,000 in pennies were delivered on March 8 by armored truck to the Memorial to the Missing outside the Baptist Building.

The Memorial to the Missing is a Mississippi Baptist campaign designed to draw attention to the 50 million babies that have been aborted in America since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion in all fifty states throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Each penny contributed to the Memorial represents one of those aborted babies.

The goal of 50 million pennies for the Memorial is now in sight, said Jimmy Porter, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission and coordinator of the one-of-a-kind project. He estimated the Memorial currently holds 30 million-plus in pennies.

“It is exciting to see the generosity of Mississippi Baptists in support of this important cause. At the same time, it is humbling and sobering to understand that each penny is a memorial to a baby who was never born because of our country’s turning away from the sanctity of human life,” Porter said.

“The Memorial is not about the politics of abortion or the medical arguments surrounding this issue. The Memorial is purely about the babies who are not with us today due to more than 34 years of legalized abortion. They should not be forgotten in all the noisy debate over abortion,” he pointed out.

“None of us could imagine what fifty million pennies would look like, but now as we get closer it is astounding,” said Jim Futral, executive director-treasurer of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board. “When you view them and try to think of them being fifty million missing babies — aborted children — it is stunning and will break your heart.”

The Memorial is located on the northwest corner of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board property at 515 Mississippi Street, and faces the state’s Capitol Building. It was dedicated in May 2006 with a rally during which the first pennies were poured into the container, specially designed to hold 50 million pennies weighing 160 tons and totaling $500,000.

Concrete pilings more than 16 feet deep support the thick concrete pad that serves as the floor of the container. A super-strong polycarbonate material serves as the “glass” on all four sides, making the container transparent.

The $30,000 penny delivery followed an earlier $15,000 delivery to the Memorial, both part of a special offering currently being conducted by the churches of the Mississippi Baptist Convention in support of the Memorial. The $30,000 delivery — 20 tons in all — was so heavy that it had to be delivered in a special stretch armored truck and unloaded with a heavy-duty forklift from Briggs Equipment Company in Jackson.

Heavy-Duty Delivery photo

HEAVY-DUTY DELIVERY — Workers from Loomis Fargo armored truck company and Briggs Equipment Company in Jackson work to unload one of ten 2,000-pound sacks of pennies bound for the Memorial to the Missing outside the Baptist Building in downtown Jackson. The penny delivery required a special stretch armored truck and heavy-duty forklift due to the weight of the pennies. (Photo by William H. Perkins Jr.)

Churches and individuals who wish to contribute to the Memorial need not collect pennies. Checks will be converted to pennies upon receipt and placed in the Memorial. At the conclusion of the campaign, the Mississippi Baptist Foundation will administer the $500,000 in gifts to the Memorial and direct 100% of the funds to pro-life programs.

For more information, contact the Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission at P.O. Box 530, Jackson, MS 39205-0530. Telephone: (601) 292-3329 or toll-free outside Jackson (800) 748-1651, ext. 329. E-mail: rwood@christianaction.com. Web site: www.mbcb.org.

One of the greatest benefits of the Memorial is the opportunity to put in front of people the atrocity of legalized abortion in America, especially for young people who don’t know a time when abortion was considered to be the taking of a human life, according to Porter.

“Hardly a day goes by without someone or some group of people stopping to look at the Memorial and praying for the cause. Last week, a group of women came to the Memorial and formed a prayer chain around it. They each prayed for the babies and then quietly went on their way. It was very moving, and something we see quite often.

“The Memorial leaves an impression that never really goes away,” he said.


“Directions” column from the March 15, 2007, Baptist Record

Never Pass a Penny

As we continue to collect pennies for the Memorial to the Missing filling a glass case that will hold 50 million pennies, it has been interesting to hear from a number of you who have changed or at least refocused your view of a penny. Each one of the pennies in the memorial represents one precious little baby. This year we passed the 50 million mark of abortions that have occurred since 1973 following the Roe vs. Wade decision of the Supreme Court. With no fanfare or national day of remembrance, we ignored this incredible milestone of human loss. Every penny is a person, and every person has tremendous value in the eyes of God. This Memorial to the Missing helps us visualize this unnoticed tragedy.

How much is a penny worth? It has certainly gone through many changes over the years, and not just the imprint that is on the copper, but the value of the one-cent piece itself. I am confident ole Ben Franklin was referring to a coin of far greater value then today’s penny when he said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Inflation, devaluation of coins, and even the change in the substance of the coin has made it of less and less value. The old, old pennies were 90% copper and 10% zinc. I am told that today they are 90% zinc and 10% copper.

What can you buy with a penny? Like some of you, my first thought would probably be gum from one of those old gumball machines, but now the gum is worth more than a penny. In fact, for those of you who may have been out of circulation for a while, those penny gumball machines went to a nickel, and somewhere along the line they jumped up to a quarter. I suppose in the days ahead my grandchildren will probably come and ask for a dollar bill so they can get them a piece of gum.

What can you buy with a penny? I really can’t think of anything. In a day when water can cost you one to three dollars a bottle, you can’t even get a decent gulp with a penny. Somehow with the devaluation of coins there has also come the devaluation of life itself. In our country silently and invisibly with the decision of the Supreme Court that makes abortion legal and covered with a shroud of medical technology that seems to provide moral approval, we have gone about taking one life at a time, and through whatever arguments you want to use our society has decided that those little persons are of no value.

It is interesting how we have lessened their worth, for they are no longer people. They are not even babies. We refer to them as “fetuses.” Say what you will and call it what you want, the truth is that in the case of most abortions performed in our nation if a surgeon were to take the time to perform a careful operation and open the womb he would remove a developing child that anyone of us would be able to recognize as a small human being.

In collecting and giving our pennies to the Memorial to the Missing many of us have become penny conscious and person conscious. Every penny represents a person and so when walking along the sidewalk and you notice a penny on the ground, pause to pick it up and think about what one little small person could have become. After your purchase at the store, you receive change and sprinkled among the nickels and dimes there may be a penny or two. Stop and think of what great value a child has.

Your pennies are needed to help fill the glass case and complete the memorial. If you have collected pennies and have not been able to get them to Jackson, just call the Christian Action Commission, and they will help arrange to have someone pick them up. If you send dollar bills or a check, we will convert them to pennies. Our nation needs to see what 50 million looks like. Even now if you get an opportunity to come by the Baptist Building and give God a little of your time to stand at this memorial, you will be amazed at the enormity of what has taken place and is happening in our nation day by day. View the pennies and see the people — precious, productive, but now missing people.

God help us not only to stop destroying our children but also to move toward a high, heavenly view of the worth of a human being.

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer
jfutral@mbcb.org
3-15-07


From front page of the February 22, 2007, Baptist Record

“Donations for Memorial”

Donations for Memorial photoWorkers from Loomis Fargo armored truck company and the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board unload $15,000 in donated pennies for the Memorial to the Missing located outside the Baptist Building in downtown Jackson. The Memorial is designed to hold 50 million pennies — one for each baby missing since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 legalization of abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Individuals and churches can continue to contribute to the Memorial, and the contributions need not be in pennies. Donations in the forms of checks and cash will be converted to pennies and placed in the Memorial. To date, the Memorial is more than halfway to its goal, the proceeds of which will ultimately be used 100% for pro-life causes in Mississippi. For more information, visit www.mbcb.org. (Photo by William H. Perkins Jr.)


Lead Story from the January 11, 2007, Baptist Record

“Offering to support Memorial to Missing”

Memorial Pennies photo

MEMORIAL PENNIES — Mississippi Baptist Convention Board employee volunteers work to load and sort pennies given for the Memorial to the Missing in Jackson, which is designed to draw attention to the 50 million babies who are missing since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in all fifty states in the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. Mississippi Baptists are about halfway to their goal of filling the glass container with 50 million pennies — one penny for each baby missing as a result of legalized abortion. (Photo by William H. Perkins Jr.)

By William H. Perkins Jr.
Editor

As the 34th anniversary nears for the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion across America, Mississippi Baptists are planning a special offering for their Memorial to the Missing designed to draw attention to the 50 million babies that have died since the court’s ruling.

Located at the northwest corner of the Baptist Building in Jackson, the Memorial is a massive glass container engineered to hold 50 million pennies — one penny for each of the missing babies who have been victims of legalized abortion. The Memorial currently contains about 25,000,000 pennies given by members of churches affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention.

“The special offering is to complete our goal of 50 million pennies for the Memorial. Mississippi is recognized as a national leader in defending the rights of the unborn, and the Memorial is a way to let the nation — and the world — know where Mississippi Baptists stand on this issue,” said Jimmy Porter, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission, which is spearheading the campaign.

Every church affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention will soon be receiving a package containing specially-designed bulletin inserts and envelopes for the offering, Porter said.

“We are suggesting that churches collect the offering on the January 21 anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which falls this year on the Sunday that we will observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday across the Southern Baptist Convention — but the offering would be welcomed any time a church can work it into their schedule.

“It is important to know that your church need not collect pennies. Any gift designated to the Memorial will be converted to pennies upon receipt and made a part of the Memorial,” Porter pointed out.

When the Memorial to the Missing campaign in completed and the container is filled with 50 million pennies, the $500,000 represented by the pennies will be placed in an endowment with the Mississippi Baptist Foundation for the support of pro-life causes, according to Porter.

Some of the uses of the endowment proceeds as envisioned by Porter include funding for Crisis Pregnancy Centers operated by Mississippi Baptist churches, and the purchase of equipment such as computerized ultrasound machines that will allow expectant mothers struggling with an abortion decision to actually see their babies developing.

“I want to express my deep appreciation for the thousands of Mississippi Baptists who have worked so diligently and given so sacrificially to fill the Memorial and help make this important statement about how we feel about the 50 million missing babies,” Porter said. “After the special offering, we will continue to receive gifts until the Memorial is filled and the whole world knows the stand Mississippi Baptists have taken.”

For more information, contact the Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission at P.O. Box 530, Jackson, MS 39205-0530. Telephone: (601) 292-3329 or toll-free outside Jackson (800) 748-1651, ext. 329. E-mail: rwood@christianaction.com.


“Directions” column from the July 20, 2006, Baptist Record

Questions and Answers about the Memorial to the Missing

The Memorial to the Missing is a 12 ft. x 16 ft. x 7 ft. high glassed in case that will hold 50 million pennies. The purpose of the Memorial is to create a visual demonstration of what 50 million missing children look like. Since the Supreme Court Decision in 1973 Roe vs. Wade, this year 2006 we will pass the 50 million mark of known legalized abortions. All of those children are gone, missing with no chance for life. While it is impossible to visualize all of those missing children, the penny that may seem to be of very little worth begins to take on an enormous significance as you put one by another and another until you see a million and then 50 million.

Many of our churches across the state have participated, pooled their pennies, sent them, or brought them, and the case is filling up. Hopefully, the following Q & A format will answer any questions you may have about the Memorial, the collection, and usage of the pennies.

Q. Are you still receiving pennies?

A. Yes. Thank you for continuing to provide them. Hardly a day goes by and never a week that someone from our churches or associations does not make a delivery and bring 10,000 to 100,000 more pennies. Sometimes it appears as though a church or a group of churches have all of the pennies in the world only to find out that it takes an enormous pile of pennies to make 50 million. While we hope to reach the goal by September 1, 2006, we will keep on collecting pennies until we do.

Q. How many pennies have been collected?

A. We are approaching the halfway mark with approximately 25 million pennies. It is a site to see. We have not arrived, but we have made tremendous strides and with your help the goal will be reached and the massive Memorial will reflect each precious life that is missing.

Q. I do not have many pennies. Can I give a check or cash?

A. You certainly can. Many children or senior adults groups have depleted their penny reserves around the house, but they still want to give. Any gift designated to the Memorial to the Missing is converted into pennies upon receipt and made a part of the Memorial. One thing that we discovered is that pennies are heavy and cumbersome. Some folks have found it to be easier and more convenient just to give some money.

Q. We have collected a lot of pennies, but we can’t get them to the Baptist Building. What should we do?

A. All that is necessary for you to do is call this Toll Free number - 1-800-748-1651, Ext. 329 and tell them you have pennies. If you can get them to your associational office, that would be great, but if you cannot, we will have someone from the Baptist Building to come by, load up your pennies, and bring them to be a part of the Memorial.

Q. My church has not participated in gathering pennies for the Memorial. How can I be a part?

A. One of the wonderful things about the Memorial is that anybody of any age or any size group can participate to the degree that you feel led. Whether it is with one penny you find on the street, a whole bag of pennies that you collect, or a check that you may write. Every contribution helps, makes a difference, and is deeply appreciated.

Q. Where is the Memorial actually located?

A. The glass container sits on the corner of the Baptist Building property at President and Mississippi Streets just across from the Capitol.

Q. How long will the Memorial be in place?

A. At least a year from the time we reach 50 million and maybe longer.

Q. When the Memorial is taken down, what will happen to the 50 million pennies?

A. That is one of the wonderful things about the Memorial. Although the children may be missing, the pennies collected will be put to work. At the conclusion of the Memorial the pennies will be put into an endowment with the Mississippi Baptist Foundation. Some simple math will reveal that 50 million pennies equals a half million dollars. Each year the proceeds from the endowment will be put back into pro-life needs. Across our state there are Christian Crisis Pregnancy Centers and special needs related to women struggling with an unwanted pregnancy. The dollars produced from the endowment will all go to help with these needs. There will be absolutely no salaries or administrative costs coming out of these funds, but every penny will be channeled into areas that will help give life rather than destroy life.

Q. I am not able to come and see the Memorial and many people in my church would like to see what it is like. Is there any way to convey to them information about the Memorial for the Missing?

A. At the dedication of the Memorial for the Missing there was a song written and dedicated by Jerry Mixon and Eva Hart just for that event. Then at the ceremony Lisa Leavell gave a moving presentation of the song. Upon request you can receive a DVD that can be shown to your church or any group within the church. It will bless you and bring you to be a part of the event. To receive a copy simply call 1-800-748-1651, Ext. 329 and a copy will be sent to you free.

Please pray for people who may be facing the difficulty of an unwanted pregnancy and for people who are struggling with the aftermath of a decision to have an abortion.

Please pray that God will use the Memorial to heighten the awareness of everyone who sees it or hears about it to understand the enormity of the loss of the experience that happens quietly and almost unseen that it will become an unforgettable image that will help us as a nation to turn from this practice and focus on the wonder of life.

Please pray that by God’s grace our nation will declare that the destruction of little children is no longer an option or an action in our nation.

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer
jfutral@mbcb.org
7-20-06


Lead Story from the May 18, 2006, Baptist Record

“Memorial to Missing campaign begins”

By Tony Martin
Associate Editor

For the Babies photo

FOR THE BABIES — Volunteers move heavy sacks of pennies into the Memorial to the Missing on May 13 in Jackson. The Memorial to the Missing is designed to hold 50 million pennies, each signifying one baby who has died since abortion was legalized in America in 1973. So far, about 20 million pennies have been placed in the Memorial. (Photo by Tony Martin)

It is one thing to say that since the U.S. Supreme Courts’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in all 50 states for the entire nine months of pregnancy, 50 million children have been aborted. Now, that number has moved from the abstract to the tangible with the Memorial to the Missing Celebration of Life Rally May 13 at the Baptist Building in downtown Jackson.

In a 13x7 feet container custom designed and built by Laws Construction Company of Flowood, approximately 20 million pennies now reside — each penny representing one child whose life was ended by abortion. The container, resting on the corner of Mississippi Street and North President Street, is mute testimony to the lives cut short by the abortionists’ hands. People and churches from all over the state of Mississippi came to participate in the dedication of the memorial.

“Saturday was a great day,” said Jim Futral, Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB) executive director. “Neither the weather, nor the people, nor the participation, nor the spirit could have been better. Now that we’re at about 20 million of the 50 million pennies, people are astounded to see what is happening in our nation.

“The pennies are important, but they take on true significance when you realize each one is a child. Now, we need even greater participation to reach the 50 million mark. The wonderful thing is that anybody, anywhere, any church, any group can participate if they have a penny. Some churches were unable to participate Saturday, but we need everyone to get involved.”

Among the moving highlights of the morning were testimonies from Kim Slade, a member of Pineview Church, Clinton, and Janet Thomas, executive director of Pro-Life Mississippi and a member of Pinelake Church, Brandon.

“I had my abortion 13 years ago, but it is a day that is never far from my heart,” said Slade.

Thomas said, “Today, it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that I am able to share with you.

“I kept this shameful secret stuffed deep inside of me and pretended that it didn’t happen. It was during my interview process with Pro-Life Mississippi that I finally knew I had to be truthful. It was then that I truly experienced God’s grace.”

Sea of Pennies photo

SEA OF PENNIES — Participants in the Celebration of Life Rally on May 13 at the Baptist Building in Jackson crowd the Memorial to the Missing to get a view of the 20 million pennies inside. The Memorial will eventually contain 50 million pennies, with each penny representing one American baby’s life lost to abortion since it was legalized in 1973. (Photo by William H. Perkins Jr.)

Lisa Leavell, a member of First Church, Jackson, sang Memories of the Missing, an original song with lyrics by MBCB Cooperative Program Director Jerry Mixon and music by Eva Hart, pianist at First Church, Jackson.

Futral shared the keynote message. “Today we come here in our wonderful country to place a monument which will contain 50 million pennies.

“Every year, millions of people visit Washington, D.C., and see the Vietnam Memorial. On that black slab are 58,249 names of young men and women who gave their lives in Vietnam, but that doesn’t begin to compare to the millions of children in America who have lost their lives silently, in sterile environments as they have died, day after day.”

Many in the crowd had their own stories. One woman said, “I could have been one of those pennies, but my mom decided to give me up for adoption.”

Tammy Anderson, a consultant for the Mississippi Woman’s Missionary Union, said, “I was passing out water after the rally on Saturday and offered a bottle to a lady who was holding the most precious, brown-eyed little boy. He was about two years old. The mother took the bottle of water and opened it, and the little boy reached for the bottle and began to drink.

“The mother began to tell me that his mother had been willing to let her and her husband adopt the little boy. Otherwise, he would have been one of the pennies in the glass case.”

Futral spoke on May 15 of the progess of memorializing the missing lost to abortion. “Many have asked how pennies for the memorial might be delivered to the Baptist Building. If someone can’t bring the pennies to Jackson, then taking them to their associational office might be helpful — or, if need be, personnel from the Baptist Building will help transport the pennies back to the Memorial.”

For more information on the year-long Memorial to the Missing campaign and how to get pennies to the Memorial, contact the Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission at (601) 292-3329, or toll-free outside Jackosn (800) 748-1651, ext. 329. E-mail: rwood@mbcb.org. Web site: www.mbcb.org.

“The focus is on the babies, as it should be, and not the pennies,” Futral said. “I want to thank Mississippi Baptists for an already amazing job done, and thank them ahead of time for what they will do.”


Lead Story from the May 4, 2006, Baptist Record

“Celebration, dedication set for May 13”

By Willam H. Perkins Jr.
Editor

Penny Drop Off mapMississippi Baptists will gather on May 13 at the Baptist Building in Jackson for a Celebration of Life Rally and the dedication of the Memorial to the Missing — all designed to bring national attention to the 50 million abortions that have occurred in America since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision legalizing the procedure in all 50 states through all nine months of pregnancy.

The memorial will feature a massive, see-through container outside the Baptist Building which will hold 50 million pennies, or one for each of the babies that has been aborted over the past 33 years. Mississippi Baptist leaders have called on the churches of the convention to collect pennies for the memorial and deliver the pennies on May 13 during the rally.

The rally will start at 10 a.m., and pennies can be dropped off at the Baptist Building beginning at 8 a.m. that morning.

To commemorate the lives lost to abortion, an original song written by Mississippi Baptist Convention Board Cooperative Program Director Jerry Mixon and put to music by First Church, Jackson, pianist Eva Hart will debut at the Celebration of Life Rally.

“It seems only right that this memorial to the 50 million missing children be here in our state. Mississippi has been the most pro-life state in the nation and continues to be strong in its efforts to guard the sanctity of life,” wrote Jim Futral, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, in his Directions column on page four of this issue of The Baptist Record.

“By your presence and participation, you can say to the entire nation that we care. Many of our churches have been busy collecting pennies for the memorial, and many churches and individuals have already brought their coins to the Baptist Building.

Jim Futral photo

Futral

Jimmy Porter photo

Porter

“Just as every penny counts, every precious life counts and must be remembered. Many Sunday School classes and organizations in the church — and some entire congregations — have made a concerted effort to gather all the surplus pennies that have been found in cars, under couches, collected in jars, and just loose change from pockets and purses, to be a part of this tremendous memorial,” Futral wrote in his column.

The Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission (CAC) is coordinating the Memorial to the Missing campaign.

“The Memorial to the Missing is an endeavor that has captivated Mississippi Baptists throughout our state. Churches large and small, urban and rural, have accepted the challenge to raise 50 million pennies,” said CAC Executive Director Jimmy Porter.

Porter pointed out that the pennies must be loose (not in rolls) to be placed in the container, which will weigh over 156 tons when completely filled. “We have special bags in the CAC office that will hold about $100 in loose pennies. Anyone who needs the bags can contact us; we’ve already had a number of churches call to report they’ve filled up their bags and need more,” he said.

Vehicles transporting pennies and participants to the May 13 rally are being asked to exit Interstate 55 at High Street and proceed to North State Street. Turn left (south) on North State Street and proceed to Mississippi Street.

Porter said if pennies collected for the memorial cannot be delivered to the Baptist Building on the morning of the rally, other arrangements can be made by calling or e-mailing CAC. Pennies can be dropped off at the Baptist Building at any time during business hours.

“It is my prayer that God will be able to use the memorial to speak to us words of restoration, hope, repentance, and forgiveness, and that His wonderful touch of renewal will remind everyone of us of the wonder of His great goodness and how He values each of us,” Futral wrote in his Directions column.

For more information, contact CAC at (601) 292-3329 or toll-free outside Jackson (800) 748-1651, ext. 329. E-mail: rwood@mbcb.org.


“Directions” column from the May 4, 2006, Baptist Record

Every Penny Person Counts

Your help is needed and deeply appreciated. We are about a week away from a celebration of life as we remember the 50 million children who, following the decision of our Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, were not permitted to live. This year marks the date when we will pass that ominous and incomprehensible number. To pause and mark this day in history, we are asking folks all across Mississippi to join us on Saturday, May 13, at the Baptist Building just across from the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson to help fill a huge glass container with 50 million pennies.

It seems only right that this memorial to the 50 million missing children be here in our state. Mississippi has been the most pro-life state in the nation and continues to be strong in its efforts to guard the sanctity of life. By your presence and participation, you can say to the entire nation that we care. Many of our churches have been busy collecting pennies for the memorial, and many churches and individuals have already brought their coins to the Baptist Building. Just as every penny counts, every precious life counts and must be remembered. Many Sunday School classes and organizations in the church — and some entire congregations — have made a concerted effort to gather all the surplus pennies that have been found in cars, under couches, collected in jars, and just loose change from pockets and purses, to be a part of this tremendous memorial. If your church is not involved in any special effort to help, that does not prevent you from doing something. If your church cannot gather the pennies and get them here, check with your director of associational missions and if he is unable to connect you or help you, just call the Christian Action Commission at (601) 292-3329 or (800) 748-1651, ext. 3329. They will do everything they can to assist you.

When you come to the gathering on May 13, you will be a part of a service of dedication. The service will be rather brief and will include a beautiful song written just for this occasion and memorial. You will hear some meaningful and moving testimonies of God at work in beautiful ways in spite of the losses. Hopefully, you will bring some of your pennies to be a part of an incredible memorial to the 50 million missing children. The container sits on the corner of President and Mississippi Streets and is a glass enclosure enabling people to see the pennies from every direction. It measures 17 feet by 13 feet by 7 feet high. You have never seen anything like this, because there has never been anything like it.

Why did we bother to do such a thing? Why would you bother to come and share in the moment and to bring your pennies to be a part of the 50 million? The memorial will be a visible expression of what abortion has done to our nation. No, a penny cannot begin to show the worth of one person. There is no way that it can be multiplied to show the value of what one life could have been, but 50 million pennies combined will show the enormity of what has taken place over these days, months, and years.

The memorial will also be a vocal expression in that it will speak to every one of us. It is my prayer that God will be able to use the memorial to speak to us words of restoration, hope, repentance, and forgiveness, and that His wonderful touch of renewal will remind everyone of us of the wonder of His great goodness and how He values each of us.

Finally, the memorial is a victorious expression. Some who may have been driven to the decision to have an abortion by fear, guilt, alienation, and pressure from others have already come to know that God can bring about new days and new ways in their lives as they seek Him. We may wonder and dream of what God could have done through the lives of these 50 million who are missing, but we do not need to lose sight of the wonder of what God can do through the precious lives of people who chose to abort their babies one by one by one. While the life of the child may have been cut short, the life of a young mother needs to be given new hope, new direction, and victory that can only come through our living Lord, Jesus Christ.

Gather your pennies, get them to us, and if at all possible bring them and share in a celebration of life at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, in front of the Baptist Building.

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer
jfutral@mbcb.org
5-4-06


Lead Story from the April 6, 2006, Baptist Record

“Memorial to Missing gets underway”

By William H. Perkins Jr.
Editor

Breaking Ground photo

BREAKING GROUND — Construction on the Memorial to the Missing, designed to bring attention to the tragedy of legalized abortion in Mississippi and around America, began immediately after groundbreaking ceremonies March 29 at the Baptist Building in Jackson. On hand for the groundbreaking were (from left) John R. Laws III, president of Laws Construction Company in Flowood; Daniel C. Hall, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Foundation; Jimmy Porter, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission; and Jim Futral, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board. (Photo by William H. Perkins Jr.)

With ground broken last week for the Memorial to the Missing in Jackson, Mississippi Baptists will soon have the opportunity to make a strong statement on abortion that will echo around the country and the world.

The Memorial to the Missing is meant to call attention to the babies missing from the American population since the legalization of abortion nationwide in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Roe decision, and a companion Supreme Court case styled Doe v. Bolton, stripped states of the right to prohibit abortion during the entire nine months of pregnancy.

“This year America will surpass the 50 million mark of aborted children. Just to write or say 50 million is a number beyond comprehension,” writes Jim Futral, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, in his Directions column for the current issue of The Baptist Record.

“Have you ever seen 50 million of anything? In order to demonstrate just on a small scale what 50 million is like, we are erecting a container here at the Baptist Building that will hold 50 million pennies. Every penny placed in this receptacle will represent one child whose life was short-circuited by abortion.

“A penny may not seem like much. Its value may seem small and insignificant, even like the missing child that it represents, but when 50 million are combined it becomes overwhelming,” Futral pointed out.

For the Missing photo

FOR THE MISSING — Mississippi Baptist churches will soon begin receiving heavy-duty, woven sacks in which to place up to 15,000 loose pennies for inclusion in the Memorial to the Missing, to bring attention to the 50 million legal abortions that have occurred in the U.S. since 1973. (Photo by William H. Perkins Jr.)

Construction on the one-of-a-kind container for the 50 million pennies is slated for completion by May 13 — the Saturday before Mother’s Day. Laws Construction Company of Jackson is donating the labor for the project.

“Laws Construction Company is excited to be able to help the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board with this unique and important project,” said company President John R. Laws III. “It is one we will remember and talk about forever.”

On May 13, Mississippi Baptists are invited to participate in a Celebration of Life rally beginning at 10 a.m. at the site of the Memorial to the Missing, on the northwest corner of the city block on which the Baptist Building rests at 515 Mississippi Street in Jackson.

Every Mississippi Baptist church has been mailed a heavy-duty, woven sack specially designed to hold about 15,000 loose pennies to be contributed to the memorial, Futral said, and more sacks will be available upon request.

A lack of the special sacks shouldn’t deter anyone from getting involved, however. “It is not necessary for you to use only these bags,” said Jimmy Porter, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission (CAC), which is spearheading the project. “Any strong container can be used to collect and transport the pennies.”

Persons desiring more sacks and other information on the project can contact CAC at P.O. Box 530, Jackson, MS 39205-0530. Telephone: (601) 292-3329 or toll-free outside Jackson (800) 748-1651, ext. 329. E-mail: rwood@mbcb.org.

Pennies can be delivered to CAC at the Baptist Building beginning immediately, but churches are asked to turn out for the May 13 rally with penny-filled sacks to place in the container and send a message from Mississippi Baptists to the world about the tragedy of legalized abortion.

“One significant final feature of this memorial is that it will last far beyond the months that it will be standing. At the conclusion of the memorial’s life when it is removed, the pennies collected will be placed in an endowment with the Mississippi Baptist Foundation. The proceeds will be used in the years to come to help provide funding for support and care of pro-life issues. These pennies will not be wasted,” Futral wrote.


“Directions” column from the April 6, 2006, Baptist Record

A Memorial to the Missing

Each year thousands of children are reported missing. Many of them are never found. It is a tragedy that involves unending heartbreak. At the same time, millions of children are missing because they were never allowed to be born due to the decision of our U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 in Roe vs. Wade. Since that landmark decision, over 49 million babies were denied the right to life. This year America will surpass the 50 million mark of aborted children. Just to write or say 50 million is a number beyond comprehension. Have you ever seen 50 million of anything? In order to demonstrate just on a small scale what 50 million is like, we are erecting a container here at the Baptist Building that will hold 50 million pennies. Every penny placed in this receptacle will represent one child whose life was short-circuited by abortion.

A penny may not seem like much. Its value may seem small and insignificant, even like the missing child that it represents, but when 50 million are combined it becomes overwhelming.

Your help is needed to fill this container with the 50 million pennies. One penny will be significant. Ten thousand — a hundred dollars worth of pennies, — certainly makes a difference and some have already done more than that as they have asked groups within the church to just bring some of the pennies from home that have been accumulated over the years.

Every penny will represent one person who is missing from our society because of abortion. Each one is missed and each one is significant. With your help we will gather the 50 million pennies, place them in the container, and they will stand as an incredible, visible tribute to the missing.

Recently my oldest grandson and his dad visited Washington, D.C. Among the many things they saw was the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. Anyone who has ever visited our nation’s capitol and missed seeing this tomb and the respectful military guard that is there 24 hours a day and the changing of the guard has missed one of the most moving and solemn experiences imaginable. Yet here in our land 50 million children are missing, quietly taken in the surgical surroundings of medical technology. While millions surely quietly grieve over their loss, as time passes there is no monument, no dignified military guard, and little ritual or fanfare. They are just gone! You and I have the privilege of contributing to a memorial that will speak of our loss 24 hours a day and help convict our national conscience.

Think about each of these 50 million pennies. Each one represents a story of struggle, pain, and often betrayal. One may represent a young lady who was used, left alone, and afraid with nowhere to turn. One may represent some lady who simply did not want to be bothered with another child. Each of the 50 million stories can conclude with a Savior who cares, who can save, and can help.

You can begin sending or bringing loose pennies now. Every church will be provided a sack that will hold about 15,000 pennies. More sacks will be available on request. The target date for collecting the 50 million pennies will be Mother’s Day weekend. If a group from your church would like to come and bring the pennies, we will gather on Saturday, May 13, at 10:00 a.m. for a brief service.

One significant final feature of this memorial is that it will last far beyond the months that it will be standing. At the conclusion of the memorial’s life when it is removed the pennies collected will be placed in an endowment with the Mississippi Baptist Foundation. The proceeds will be used in the years to come to help provide funding for support and care of pro-life issues. These pennies will not be wasted.

Someone is needed to make a difference in your church in collecting and getting the pennies to us. Even now, why don’t you ask the Lord to allow you to be that ONE?

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer
jfutral@mbcb.org
4-6-06


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