NASHVILLE (WordNews.org) March 31, 2011 – Shari Rigby was so moved by the experience of playing the birth mother of a girl she tried to abort in movie October Baby that she recorder her own testimony.
“It’s had such phenomenal responses,” said Jon Erwin, co-writer and director of October Baby. [Click here to watch "Shari's Story"].
“So many women responded to that story,” he told WordNews.org. “Somehow it gave women a voice, it gave them permission to share about their own abortions.”
In the testimony, Rigby tells of the complete healing that came during the filming.
“I knew the Lord was with me,” she said in the video. “And that it was just complete healing in the moment. … That wasn’t acting. That was my moment with God … saying ‘It’s OK. It’s over’ and ‘you’ve been forgiven.’”
October Baby enters its second weekend in theaters. Erwin said its target audience may surprise some.
Statistics, he said, show that about one third of child-bearing women have had or will have an abortion. Some statistics put that number as high as 44 percent.
“And the very interesting thing, when you really study abortions, how many of them are professing Christians,” Erwin said. “The majority of abortions are from professing Christians. So to say something like the church doesn’t need this …”
And there are some that do not believe the message of October Baby is needed in the church.
“I remember there was one megapastor of a church of 10,000 said, ‘Well, nobody in our church has had an abortion.’ That is just so misinformed,” Erwin said. “The vast number of women are hurting silently in our churches and also in our culture.”
Erwin tells the story of screening the film for church leaders.
“One Christian leader came to see the film with his wife. They live five minutes away and it took them two to get home,” he said. “She revealed she had had an abortion 10 years prior. And they shared and they cried. She got out from underneath this secret.”
The church leader wrote Erwin and the experience and the changes that took place in his wife.
“She’s lost weight, she’s happier, she’s more talkative, she’s brighter,” the man wrote. “You literally changed my wife’s life. She’s a different person.”
“All because she just brought a secret out into the light and realized she was not condemned for it by her husband or by anybody else,” Erwin said. “It was Shari’s story that started that. And by far the biggest response to the film has been post abortive women that share in the film’s healing message and hope and [there’s] something about having the word’s ‘I forgive you’ written on the screen is very powerful for them.”
Erwin calls that response the “biggest God moment and biggest surprise as we’ve been unveiling the film.”
In some cases, people stay in the theater long after the credits are over. A group called Surrendering the Secret, which provides post-abortive counseling, has sent women to leadership screenings.
“People just talking until midnight, counseling, sharing their stories,” he said. “We’ve had women and men just weep on our shoulders, saying, ‘Thank you for making this movie.’”
Erwin recounted one story where a woman took the secret with her to the grave. A couple told Erwin about a woman in their congregation that took her own life the week before. She was 50 years old.
The woman left a note that read: “I had an abortion when I was 15 and was never able to forgive myself.”
“This is serious stuff and I hope the film can really bring healing to these women and men all the while we deal with the issue. And we talk about the issue,” Erwin said. “I like the fact that the film does both.”