For several hours on Saturday, the island in the middle of Times Square between Broadway and Fashion Avenue was transformed into an open-air church for pro-life advocates who rallied against abortion, singing praises to God and sharing testimonies of survival.
"I came here to tell a story," Mary Pendergraft began as the crowd sang "How Great Thou Art."
The sun had come up after a wet, cold and overcast morning. It had warmed up enough for people who had braved raindrops to maintain their spot at the historic anti- abortion "Alive From New York" rally, hosted by Focus on the Family that attracted almost 20,000.
"We were thrilled with Saturday's turnout, which far exceeded expectations. That close to 20,000 people would jam into New York City's Times Square on a Saturday to celebrate life should encourage everyone who continues to champion and protect the most vulnerable and innocent among us. It was a triumph and the largest pro-life gathering in the history of New York City!" Paul Batura, vice president of Focus on the Family, said in a statement to The Christian Post.
Pendergraft had been listening quietly as other pro-life supporters like Manhattan resident Lee Mason talked about how refreshing and inspiring the event was for pro-life advocates like her in a city where abortion is now legal essentially up until the point of birth.
"Those of us who hold that life begins at conception in Manhattan are probably a pretty rare breed and to speak about it is almost to pick a fight because there are so many atheists and people who have no idea what's going on in the universe and don't care. So we just keep mum for the most part but this is an extremely wholesome development. I hope it happens every week from now on," Mason said.