There is a tradition dating back generations in Black churches – Mothers of the Church. Although the traditions represent many African American churches throughout the U.S., it is more common in rural churches in the Deep South. Church Mothers, who are part of the “Mother Board”, are long-standing church members who are considered “saintly” and revered by the congregation. They pay close attention to the physical and spiritual well being of the congregation, are sources of strength and stability for the Black family, and serve as role models for younger generations. This tradition of Mothers, who are highly respected women by their families, churches, and communities, has lasted for untold generations.
Healthy Baby Sunday, an outreach campaign that promotes and encourages breastfeeding and provides education on other maternal and child health issues, was held as our kick-off for this campaign season and each participating church participated in the following activities:
- Each of the churches were asked to devote one Sunday to activities to ensure that they support breastfeeding and healthy babies
- Sermons were to be devoted to healthy babies or to “Honor Thy Mother”
- Designated “Mothers of the Church” were selected for their contribution to the church, the community, breastfeeding, support of their church family, as well as their own.
- Each church was asked to support their selected Mothers at the “Honor Thy Mother” celebration.
Healthy Baby Ambassadors, who are representatives from each community, worked with us on these campaigns. Their main activities were to participate in the planning and development of the campaign. They coordinated the introduction of this campaign and hosted luncheons on a local level for Pastors and their wives, church representatives, and Church Health Ministries. They also worked on the day of the Healthy Baby Sunday and they provided outreach into faith-based and other organizations in the community to garner support of the campaign goals.