By Message Staff
ALEXANDRIA – After years of praying and preparation, central Louisiana’s first pregnancy care center is officially open for business.
Supporters gathered Monday, Dec. 4, for a ribbon cutting to mark the official opening of the Cenla Prenancy Center, located in the old Baptist Bookstore in Alexandria.
The facility will be open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will offer pregnancy decision coaching by trained advocates, free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, information about pregnancy options, maternity and physical resources and post-decision support including parenting education and abortion recovery groups.
Director Claire Lemoine has marveled at the level of cooperation among various denominations and other members of the community to make this dream a reality.
“Our center is based on different denominations,” Lemoine said. “So this is not just a group of Catholics, or just a group of Baptists. It’s a multi-denominational board of directors and workers and volunteers. It’s really shown the beauty of unity and how God calls us to be one. So we are all working together because of our 100 percent pro-life belief and are in search of that continued unity, despite our theological differences.”
Brian Gunter, pastor of First Baptist Church, Pollock, called the opening of the center a dream come true.
“I’m so thankful to God and our churches for how they have been able to work together to save babies’ lives,” he said. “This place will be a place where hundreds of babies’ lives are saved year after year. I praise God for it.”
First Baptist, Pollock was instrumental early in the process, when they began praying in January 2014 for the establishment of a pregnancy care center in central Louisiana. Originally, they pondered setting up a center in the back of their church property.
However, God had other plans.
Hundreds of churches, business leaders and other pro-life advocates in central Louisiana learned of the idea and began contributing money and other forms of support. By December 2016, a nine-person board of trustees formed, with members comprised of members from Big Creek, Central Louisiana and North Rapides Baptist Associations.
A lease on the 5,660-sq.-ft. building at 1254 MacArthur Drive in Alexandria was signed May 16, paving the way for renovations inside the facility to begin.