Rev. Susan Chorley, Exhale co-founder, is sharing her story in Parents Magazine as a mother who has had an abortion. Susan, an ordained Baptist minister, is featured with her son Franz and ex-husband Frank as she shares her family’s experience.
Susan has set out on a tour telling her story from the pulpit at churches around the country. We know that so many who’ve had abortions don’t feel they can bring their whole selves to church and we are working with Susan to change that. She will be preaching about leaving shame outside the door of the church.
For specific information on these services or if you would like to invite Rev. Chorley to speak with your congregation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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March 5: University Baptist Church, Minneapolis, MN
“Susan began and ended her sermon with a song—bookending a holy encounter. It set the tone for her presentation—an invitation to look into the soul of one who dared speak the word “abortion” in church. She did so without apology or condemnation, and knowing that it was uncharted water. People at our church have been finding their own voices adn even have embraced the moniker, “Pro-Voice”. After the worship service, she gave space for people to tell their own stories. And some bravely did just that—for the first time. It was a grace-filled visit.”
— Rev. Doug Donley, Pastor
February 25: Emmaus House, Olympia, WA
“We appreciated Susan’s openness to share her story with honesty, vulnerability and conviction. Her’s was a word from God reminding us that we are called to be a people of reconciliation, hope, and grace! I personally was reminded/convicted that often difficult topics/experiences are multi-layered and need sacred space to breathe, to be heard as well as prayed over.”
— Rev. Mark Rambo
“It was refreshing to have a voice like Susan’s among our small congregation, as it provided an opportunity for us to look honestly at how we sometimes unintentionally silence important stories in our community. She provided an excellent model for what bulnerability with boundaries can look like in a church setting…”
— A member of the Emmaus House church
February 22: Seattle First Baptist Church, Seattle, WA
Susan reflects on her journey so far:
“The power of pro-voice allows people to share from their perspective about their experience with abortion, parenting even grand-parenting. Where I used to feel like no one talked about or thought about abortion, now I realize it’s a giant conversation we all have been wanting to have, but haven’t known how. We are learning/feeling our way – and in this time where our country keeps finding itself divided – this experience is giving people hope, connection and joy – a way to find one another and to find love and compassion for one another“.
November 13: First Baptist Church, Salt Lake City, UT
“Rev. Chorley’s honest reflection and willingness to be vulnerable is a testament to her faith and to how much she believes that the church can and will be a place where women can turn to receive love, support, nurture and acceptance for women who have had abortions. She calls us in the church to live into our highest ideals by demonstrating to us what grace looks like and how it has been her salvation, but also how the church has, at times, failed to be there when needed the most. Susan’s gift for preaching and powerful message make a lasting impact on anyone who comes to hear what the spirit is saying through her.”
— Rev. Curtis Price, Pastor
November 2: Sanctuary Boston, Boston, MA
“Susan spoke movingly about her own story in a way that invited more conversation, more understanding, and more grace.”
— Matt Meyer, Worship Leader
“It was refreshing to hear Rev. Chorley speak so openly about her decisions and experiences. She brought a difficult topic into conversation and allowed us to all hold her vulnerability. I am grateful for the way in which Rev. Chorley delivered her message.”
— Kate Froehlich, Student at BU School of Theology
August 7: St Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Boston, MA
“Susan’s warm strength blew open doors in our congregation. It is a challenge to find ways to talk openly about what is so personal and often so painful. Susan modeled a faithful, courageous, Christian approach to understanding abortion not as a “political issue,” but a human experience that we as a community live and struggle with in our own lives.”
— Rev. Marisa Egerstrom
“Susan’s sermon meant so much to the people of St. Stephen’s. Her courage, honesty and authentic witness to the love of Christ resonated with our congregation. She brought to light through her own story the painful places we are reluctant to acknowledge, and shined the light of God’s healing power into our doubts and hurt and shame. We were very grateful for her presence among us and for her willingness to speak with clarity on such an important topic, using it as a way to talk about the potential for transformation that is open to us through our faith.”
— Rev. Timothy E. Crellin, Vicar
July 31: Lakeshore Ave Baptist Church in Oakland, CA
“Believe at the very depths of your soul that your liberation is important. That it is connected to everyone’s liberation.”
— Rev. Chorley on sharing stories in a church setting
“As Susan told her story the words of Jesus that came into my mind were “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Susan talked about hard things in an open and gentle way, a way that invited us to come together and to reason together.”
— H. James Hopkins, Pastor
June 26: First Baptist Church, Jamaica Plain, MA
“Susan speaks with grace and wisdom about a topic that many want to avoid: abortion. She addresses the reality and pain of her own experience with openness and great faith. Most importantly Susan invites all of us to find strength in our most vulnerable places.”
— Rev. Ashlee Wiest Laird