A church in Spokane, Washington, has planted a church that is slightly different from other church plants. It is called the Church at Planned Parenthood, and the movement has spread throughout the state and even to other cities in the country.
“We care about what’s going on in our nation,” said Peters in a video on Facebook, “that we’re murdering children, and we’re just fighting it with worship and prayer and giving and taking church from the four walls right out to the gates of hell and expecting that God will prevail.”
Once a month, Pastor Ken Peters and members of Covenant Church hold a worship service in front of their local Planned Parenthood. Peters told CBN News that he got this idea when he heard God tell him in the middle of a church service that his next church campus should be at Planned Parenthood. So the Church at Planned Parenthood held its inaugural meeting on October 24th of last year.
Since then, the movement has gained quite a bit of traction. Spokane’s Spokesman Review reports that over 400 people attended last Wednesday’s service. One service the church held a few months ago had over 300 people (even though the weather was chilly), and around 65,000 viewed it live on Facebook.
What’s the Point?
The Church at Planned Parenthood’s About page explains that they are not a protest, but are rather “a gathering of Christians for the worship of God and the corporate prayer for repentance for this nation, repentance for the apathetic church and repentance of our blood guiltiness in this abortion holocaust.”
According to the page, the gathering accomplishes a number of objectives. It is an act of spiritual warfare, demonstrating the church members’ faith and that they care about the issue of abortion. The service is an opportunity to share the gospel publicly, and it’s a way of following God’s leading, helping the members not to be complacent, and allowing them to be a “Conscience for the City, Church and Planned Parenthood.” The members also believe the service helps to unify the church as it confronts the evil of abortion.
What Does Planned Parenthood Think?
A spokesman for Planned Parenthood, Paul Dillon, told the Spokesman Review that the Church at Planned Parenthood is not a church service, but is in fact a protest and one that uses “violent rhetoric.” The Review did not specify what the church has said that would qualify as such rhetoric according to Dillon. Dillon also claimed that the church has caused issues with noise and with “pedestrian safety.”
The church is not required to have a permit to hold its services, but has coordinated with the local police. There is a safety team that ensures members don’t interfere with pedestrians walking on the sidewalk, and it is not clear what pedestrian problems Dillon had in mind. While the man who organizes logistics for the church told the Review that they don’t go over 90 decibels, the report noted that at one point during last Wednesday’s service, the noise level did reach 94.3 decibels.
In the Facebook video, Peters said he’s received some criticisms about some of his decisions, some of which pertained to Bethel Music and Jesus Culture. The Review also reported (and Peters confirmed) that someone split with the church because Peters invited a guest speaker who does not believe in the Trinity. In the Facebook video, Peters explained that the Church at Planned Parenthood is not an official organization and therefore does not have official doctrinal positions. As such, each service will look different throughout the country, depending on local leaders’ theological beliefs.
Peters said that he personally is not going to exclude people just because he disagrees with them about doctrine. “I’m not going to X out half the body of Christ…this is ‘the church at Planned Parenthood,’ not ‘half the church at Planned Parenthood,’” said Peters. “If you believe in Jesus and you hate abortion, then come on.”