Legacies of the CCS

A new year’s look back: 40th anniversary of the Clergy Consultation Service

A snowy day in a new year seems tailor-made for looking back–and maybe sorting some of the boxes and boxes of photos we’ve vowed to take care of. Eleven years ago at this time, Judson Memorial Church was planning a 40th anniversary celebration of the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion. That May brought a mighty gathering of many of the founding and early members of the CCS. Rev. Howard Moody gave a stirring sermon on “The Unfinished Revolution in Roe v. Wade.”

Lorry and Howard Moody
Lorry and Howard Moody, May 2007

Co-founder Rev. Finley Schaef spoke, and Rev. E. Spencer Parsons, founder of the Chicago CCS was also there. Rev. Tom Davis, who had been a CCS member with his late wife, Rev. Betsy Davis, and the longtime chair of Planned Parenthood’s national Clergy Advisory Board, spoke that day. He recently recalled, “I remember Howard Moody and some of the others sitting in the front row looking like bandits who got away with something.  Such brave people.”

Ignacio Castuera and Tom Davis
Rev. Ignacio Castuera, then chaplain of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Rev. Tom Davis, longtime chair of PPFA’s Clergy Advisory Board, May 2007

And the host that day, as for the 50th anniversary, was Rev. Donna Schaper, Judson’s senior minister, who had also served the CCS in Chicago when she was in seminary. Since then, we’ve lost Howard Moody and Spencer Parsons and all too many of the other CCS participants. But their legacy abides in Planned Parenthood’s clergy boards, in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and many other reproductive justice groups.

Rev. E. Spencer Parsons and Rev. Donna Schaper
Rev. E. Spencer Parsons, founder of Chicago CCS, and Rev. Donna Schaper, senior minister at Judson Memorial Church, May 2007

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