Rev. Hudson Taylor Hilsden, a leading pro-life Pentecostal minister in the 1980s, passed away March 28 at the age of 90.
Rev. Hilsden was an active pro-lifer in the 1980s, present at various pickets and protests and encouraging his flock to take part with him, and was a regular speaker at pro-life conferences.
As national coordinator of “Social Concerns and Public Relations” for the The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, Rev. Hilsden was commissioned to write the organization’s official position paper on abortion, “The Christian Alterative to Abortion.” The paper, released in September 1984, stated, “Human life begins at conception. Human life is a continuum from the moment of conception to the moment of death. The only possible justification for the interruption of a pregnancy would be in the extremely rare situation in which an abortion is performed in order to save the life of the mother. Abortion performed for any other reason is the deliberate taking of human life and is equivalent to murder.”
Rev. Hilsden consulted 32 doctor, lawyers, clergy, and lay persons to write the paper which called for protection, care and love for the newborn child and the mother, and counsel and forgiveness for those who have already experienced an abortion. Christians were urged to protest against the practice of abortion-on-demand and the laws that permit it.
The paper recommended that churches provide sex education and family planning programs as well as counseling centres. Parents were urged to take an active role in the community and the public school system to help to reverse the growing rates of abortion in Canada.
At the time, The Interim reported, “gained wide acceptance in the denomination and in many political, legal and medical circles. Pro-life organizations and churches throughout North America have applauded the position taken by the P.A.O.C.”
Rev. Hilsden wrote several guest columns for The Interim. In December 1983 he wrote a column encouraging Canadians to engage their MPs through letters and visits: “The most powerful influence most Canadians can exert on government policy is through personal contact with members of Parliament.” In September 1984, he wrote about abortion’s threat to society: “This solution is no solution at all. It is easy, and cheap, but it is costly and fatal in the long term. This God-given sanctity of human must be the most important absolute in the structure of any society.”
Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition told The Interim “he was a wonderful spiritual leader and he will be sadly missed.”Rev. Hilsden was survived by his wife Mildred, his sons Wayne and Rick, six grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.