A poignant part of Heartbeat International’s Annual Pregnancy Help Conference each year is the Parade of Nations.
For many years, the world’s largest network of pregnancy help organizations (PHOs) has celebrated the international nature of its mission by inviting attendees from across the world to carry their flags in a parade at the opening dinner of the Annual Conference.
“It's always an amazing experience to see just how many people around the world are united in the life-affirming work of the pregnancy help movement,” said Heartbeat President Jor-El Godsey.
“Women and families facing unplanned pregnancy need the love, compassion, and support offered in pregnancy help organizations,” he said. “And across borders, cultures, languages, and experiences, pregnancy help servants and Christians around the world answer that call every day.”
Heartbeat supports nearly 2,900 PHOs worldwide, and its Annual Conference is the largest pregnancy help gathering in the world, with valuable education and networking available for attendees.
Heartbeat swiftly modified its 2020 Annual Conference to go completely virtual as the coronavirus was first spreading last year.
This year Heartbeat offered both an in-person and a virtual Conference. The in-person gathering ran from Apr. 27-30 in Columbus, OH, and the virtual Conference took place Apr. 28-30.
Heartbeat International also celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Conference.
The theme for the 2021 event was “Essential,” stemming from a term used often in the last year - and reflected the essential nature of the mission of serving women with life-affirming help.
The Parade of Nations demonstrates the power of pregnancy help, Godsey told the Annual Conference on its second day.
Tweet This: The Parade of Nations at Heartbeat International's Annual Conference demonstrates the power of pregnancy help.
International affiliates could not join in person due to travel restrictions owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
So instead, Heartbeat honored them with a Parade of Nations with each international affiliate’s flag carried in the parade by volunteers mainly drawn from in-person Annual Conference attendees.
Volunteers were sought who have a special connection with the country they would be volunteering for, an opportunity to celebrate connections between organizations and individuals supporting one another, whether that investment is social, financial or spiritual.
As with last year, a video message montage of international affiliates sending congratulations and well wishes to Heartbeat was presented at the Conference. In lieu of taking part in the Conference in person, 35 nations were represented by international affiliates in the virtual Conference.
The in-person Parade of Nations reflected total affiliate numbers.
“There aren’t just 40 flags, or 50 flags,” Godsey said.
The in-person Parade of Nations consisted of 78 flags.
“This is going to take a while,” said Godsey. “But that’s okay, because we want to celebrate pregnancy help all over the globe.”
The hundreds from the pregnancy help community in attendance at the in-person Parade of Nations honored Heartbeat’s international affiliates with a standing ovation as the Parade of Nations reached its finale.