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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges


World’s largest gathering of pro-family advocates celebrates 20th anniversary

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, October 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The largest gathering of pro-family advocates in the world celebrated their twentieth anniversary this week.

The ninth congress of the World Congress of Families (WCF) began Tuesday morning and continues through Friday night at Salt Lake City's Grand America Hotel. The global gathering brings parents and youth, researchers and scholars, lawmakers and government officials, clergy and religious leaders, and pro-natural family advocates for encouragement, direction, instruction, and relationships.

Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse explained, "Our purpose is to expand each other's knowledge of the research findings, network among peers, strengthen our colleagues' efforts, and build new friendships among like-minded people from around the world."

A lot has happened already, and there is plenty more coming in the next two days. On Tuesday, Dr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United For Life spoke on "The Pro-Life Movement's Strategic Successes," and LifeSiteNews' John-Henry Westen spoke on "Abortion: A Modern Day Civil Rights Tragedy, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s niece, Alveda King, shared about "The Racial Undertones of Abortion."

On Wednesday, Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, criticized the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, saying, "All the court did ... is put a lie into the law."

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Brown told attendees that rather than lament homosexual marriage as the law of the land, they should fight it.

Brown predicted, "There is no way that religious liberty will be completely protected in this country, as long as this decision stands."

"This is the time to move forward with vision, with goals, with tactics," Brown admonished the pro-family gathering, "and to stand for that which cannot be changed."

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Also on Wednesday, Dr. Jill Manning of the Colorado Sexual Recovery Center and Dawn Lykins of National Center on Sexual Exploitation addressed "The Porn Pandemic: The Devastating Effects on Children, Families, and Society." Author and researcher into China's "one child" policy Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute explained "How the Culture Undermines Life and Family," and "Demography." The Very Rev. Chad Hatfield, Dean of St. Vladimir Seminary, spoke on "The Natural Family."

Thursday, every hour is filled with multiple national and world-renowned speakers, panels, forums, discussion groups, training sessions, and professional respondents to timely video presentations. Topics of the day include "Personal, Family and Cultural Casualties from the Decline of Faith"; "Restoring Family Values"; "Marriage, Economics, and Poverty"; "The Power of Mothers"; and "Pro-Family and Pro-Life Victories at the United Nations."

Friday will see a panel taking questions and giving answers on "Impact and Issues: The Homeschooling Movement." Topics include "What Laws and Policies Best Protect Life and the Family," "Promoting Family Policy at the UN," "Renewal of Faith/Renewal of Family and Nations," "The Family: Consistent Across Faith Perspectives," "An African Perspective on Family Breakdown and Religious Freedom," "Problems Facing Today's Families Around the World," "Proven Techniques for Raising Responsible Kids and Avoiding the Entitlement Trap," "Sexual Exploitation," "Divorce," "The Power of Stories and How They Shape Society," and "The Social Costs of Pornography."

Family-friendly entertainment is provided nightly.

"We have built a strong program with some of the most outstanding speakers from around the world," Crouse told LifeSiteNews, encouraging interest people to come, even if only for the last day or two.

"New attendees will find numerous people like them who are working to help support those who are dedicated to promoting life, marriage, and family," Crouse said.

For more information about attending, visit wcf9.org.

The World Congress of Families was started by the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society and founded by Allan Carlson, a pro-family advocate.

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