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Lakeshore Presbyterian Church coffee house benefit held for East Lincoln Pregnancy Counseling Center

Friends, supporters, volunteers and members of Lakeshore Presbyterian Church turned out in droves Thursday night for the church’s monthly coffee house and a benefit for the East Lincoln Pregnancy Counseling Center.
The featured speaker was Christian comedian Keith Deltano.
“My message is that this center matters,” he said. “We’re making a difference because kids are now saying no to sex.”
According to Deltano, 52 percent of all graduating high school students in 2006 will be virgins.
“The pendulum is swinging the other way from a decade ago,” said Deltano, “and more students are listening.”
Dr. Joel McCall, Lakeshore’s pastor, said the event was one of the biggest he’s ever seen.
“We had at least a hundred people here tonight,” he said.
Over $4,900 was raised during the event.

Speaking from the heart
Before Deltano “went on the road,” talking about abstinence in schools and doing programs in churches, he was a schoolteacher.
“I was in my third year of teaching sixth grade when I discovered I had a pregnant sixth-grader in my class,” he said.
During the 1990s, it seemed the message that it was OK for teens to have sex was everywhere, according to Deltano.
“Condoms were everywhere and I couldn’t even get a sixth-grader to fill out a report correctly,” he said. “How would they be able to use a condom?”
At one time an atheist, he started going to church and attending Sunday school in 1993.
“One day, my teacher told me to get active in this fight against teen and unwanted pregnancy and it made me angry,” said Deltano.
He wrote his first show that same year and has been touring ever since.
“Comedy is really an effective tool,” said Deltano.
He told the crowd Thursday night that America’s value system is off kilter.
“We don’t value life like we should,” he said. “Somebody has to be a voice in the wilderness.”
During his talk, he also praised the staff of ELPCC for being “true warriors” in the fight against teen pregnancy.
“I spent part of my life jumping out of planes as a Green Beret,” said Deltano. “These people at ELPCC are true warriors.”

Reaching out
ELPCC was first begun in 1998, according to vice-chairman Johnny Houser.
“A group of people at Westport Baptist Church wanted to reach out to girls and women who found themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation,” he said.
The center reaches women ages 13 to 40 and has served over 500 females since its inception.
“The number of people we serve increases every year because people know we’re here, free and confidential,” said former center director and current volunteer Crystal Regan.
According to Director Tammy Teague, the center served 170 girls and women during 2004.
“As far as outreach, we do classes at East Lincoln and North Lincoln high schools for the pregnant girls,” she said.
When ELPCC first started, the word “crisis” was in its name. Not long ago, it was dropped.
“What we’re wanting to do besides crisis counseling is break the cycle of unexpected pregnancy,” said Teague. “We’re reaching into other areas, including post-abortion counseling.
“We like to say we’re there about mom … If mom gets her lifestyle right, she’ll be able to take care of baby better. When they get their lifestyle right, she’ll also be able to take care of herself.”
ELPCC’s expansion isn’t just limited to programs, according to Teague.
“We’re also trying to start a men’s ministry and a ministry geared towards college-aged women,” she said.

Want to learn more?
The center is located on N.C. 16. From Lincolnton, take N.C. 150 to N.C. 16 to Webbs Chapel Road. Go through the traffic light, and the parking lot is on the left. Contact the East Lincoln Pregnancy Care Center at (704) 489-0708.
by Jon Mayhew

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