Schaumburg Recap / Briefing by Royce Hood
The Law of Life Summit in Schaumburg was the first ever mega-Summit. Consisting of 2-jam-packed-days filled with workshops, panels and networking. We also produced the first ever Celebration of Life Dinner and Concert. Here are the details:
The Summit panels were sponsored and presented by a number of pro-life organizations. The Summit kicked off with Janet Morana who is the founder of Silent No More. Janet presented details on her new book entitled Everything you need to know about abortion for teens.
Lauren Muzyka, Founder, President and CEO of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, hosted a panel discussion featuring Karen Garnett from Heroic Media and Tracy Winsor from Be Not Afraid. I was honored to fill in on Lauren’s panel on behalf of Jill Stanek who was unable to attend. Topics ranged from sidewalk advocacy to strategy to medical and prenatal diagnosis.
Next came the firehose session. Details below.
Sidebar: The Law of Life Summit started back in 2012 with what became known as the firehose session. All presenters whether they are a member of congress or the director of a small ministry, receive the same short-amount of time to share their work and vision. Emceed by Pat Castle who is the founder of LIFE Runners, the firehose packs a punch and has earned a reputation as a high energy must-see forum. The firehose session in Schaumburg included nearly 40 speakers with brief talks ranging from advocacy to law to media to culture!
Thomas More Society followed the firehose with an all-star panel of nationally recognized attorneys and litigators including Tom Brejcha, Peter Breen and Martin Canon. The Thomas More Society legal panel was moderated by David Bereit founder and former CEO of 40 Days for Life and host of the upcoming David Bereit Show. From case specific issues to uniform legislation the team at Thomas More Society provided the audience a glimpse of their work defending the sanctity of human life. Video footage from the TMS session will be available soon (details will be posted via lawlife.org).
Choose Life Marketing closed out the first day session with a stellar panel including Nelly Roach, founder of Choose Life Marketing along with members of the CLM team Laura Howe and Marcie Little. Special guest Tom Ciesielka who is the founder of TC Public Relations also joined the Choose Life Marketing panel. Tom has developed a reputation as a master of words and messaging for numerous clients who include groups such as Thomas More Society. Choose Life Marketing discussed their work bringing pro-life messaging to the world. Despite censorship from big-tech Choose Life Marketing continue to be effective with their strategies and outreach.
Next up was a bit of fun with the first ever Celebration of Life (dinner and concert). First, I can clearly remember a phone conversation I had about 10 years ago with the founder of the March for Life, Nellie Gray. Nellie and I were discussing the tone of the pro-life movement back in 2012. Nellie said something along these lines “what are we celebrating we haven’t won anything yet!” Nellie was tremendously dedicated to her work protecting babies and defending the sanctity of human life. She believe Roe v. Wade would one day be overturned. She passed way in 2012 10 years before Dobbs.
When Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Dobb’s decision I imagine Nellie would have celebrated for at least a moment. But knowing her the celebration would have been brief. Nellie would have congratulated her team and fellow pro-lifers. But then she would have rolled up her sleeves and gotten right back to work!
Despite Dobb’s our greatest work is ahead. We are in a new world where abortions can be obtained simply by ordering a pill through the mail! Still – every now and then we must take a moment to remember why we are working so hard. Life is a gift and it is worth celebrating! Our movement has made great strides on all fronts from political to legal to cultural. To that end:
The first ever Celebration of Life Dinner and Concert kicked off with a cocktail and wine hour sponsored by Thomas More Societyand the W.I.N.E. Ministry. From there over 170 guests enjoyed dinner along with a powerhouse line-up of speakers including: Catherine Hadro who is the founding host of EWTN’s Pro-Life Weekly and along with David Bereit. Special guest Jason Jones from Movie to Movement and from The Vulnerable People Project also took the stage to share his incredible conversion story and details on his work to save the most vulnerable people in the world.
Peter Breen from Thomas More Society was also called up to the stage to introduce and honor the incredible Ann Scheidler from Pro-Life Action League. Ann received a small medal courtesy of the Pre-Born Jesus Ministry entitled Mary Ark of the New Covenant. Ann in-turn introduced members of her family who joined her on stage including youth activist Hope Miller. Hope is a rising star and she presented a fiery speech representing the next generation of the pro-life movement.
Special guest Dena Espenscheid, Senior Director of Coalitions with the Leadership Institute also took the stage. Leadership Institute was gracious to co-sponsor the Celebration Life Dinner and provided a number of comped meals for pro-life leaders and guests. Leadership Institute will soon be offering trainings specifically geared towards the pro-life movement! Details coming soon.
Cookies and Brownies were provided to guests courtesy of The Mixing Bowl bakery and gift shop based out of Sauk City, Wisconsin – check them out at www.themixingbowl.coffee.
Last but not least there were musical performances by special guests Maria Vargo who is the founder of Chesterton Entertainment. Maria shared her own incredible story of conversation along with two original songs. Next up was special guest Seph Schlueter who is an up and coming worship artist who combines inspirational lyrics with catchy acoustic grooves topped off with powerful vocal melodies. Last, I took the stage along with my children (and one of Peter Breen’s kiddos) to sing two songs entitled Pray for Me and Sacred Heart is the Boat. Guests stuck around for another hour or so just mingling and visiting with each other.
The next day was equally incredible. Dr. Michael New with the Charlotte Lozier Institute kicked things off with an incredible presentation entitled Pro-Life Success in the States: Strategies for the Current Decade and Beyond. A timely topic indeed!
Next up was a truly unique session hosted by Catherine Hadro and David Bereit entitled Pro-Life National News and Call to Action. Catherine and David’s filmed session included a number of special guests who were interviewed about their work in the pro-life movement. This session, God willing, will become a catalyst for a new show. Stay tuned!
Thomas More Society hosted a follow up panel with their legal team focusing on substantive challenges and strategies for a post-Roe world! A transcribed session video will be available soon.
After a couple of hours of impactful talks it was time for some refreshment. Lunch was provided to pro-life leaders, media and guests courtesy of Heroic Media. Chief Culture Officer with Heroic Media Karen Garnett provided an impactful session entitled: Let’s Talk Lexicon: For Influencing and Winning. Karen was later joined by special guest and nationally acclaimed speaker Rebecca Kiessling from Save the 1.
After the lunch presentation Life Site News followed up with an incredible media panel hosted by Stephen Kokx who is Director of Marketing with Life Site News. Panelists included Claire Chretien who is contributing editor with Life Site News along with special guest Peter Breen and Jason Jones.
Last the Summit concluded with short Q&A that included guests of the Life Site News panel.
What a whirlwind! A few follow up points!
1. A big thank you to Catholic Marketing Network for inviting the Law of Life Summit to be the official pro-life track for their existing conference and trade show.
2. For anyone who missed it – Law of Life Summit Schaumburg tee-shirts are available for a limited time. These shirts include Summit sponsor logos on the back. Click here to order yours.
3. Summit photos and videos. Summit photos were professionally taken courtesy of Spirit Juice Studios. These will be available for download soon. Likewise, CMAX filmed all Summit sessions. Video links will also be available soon. An email will be sent with links in the coming weeks.
4. Next up! I am working on a 2-day Summit to be held in Naples, Florida next spring. Prior to that we will also soon be announcing a virtual training summit coming up this November.
5. Planning is also underway for the DC Summit slated for January 19.