Faith in Focus

Faith in Focus: Breastfeeding gets backing from N.C. Council of Churches

CorrespondentApril 29, 2014 

Babies need to eat whenever they are hungry and it doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the night or the middle of the sermon. Breastfeeding mothers attending church are often faced with the decision of nursing in the pews or missing the service by nursing elsewhere or even just staying home from church.

While many strides have been made towards accepting and accommodating breastfeeding mothers in the workplace, the N.C. Council of Churches realized last year that there were still many opportunities for education about the benefits of breastfeeding and increase accommodations for mothers among the various faith communities in Wake County, especially in faith communities serving areas with low-resources. The council,, a statewide ecumenical organization that promotes Christian unity and represents 6,200 congregations among 17 denominations, applied for a grant from the John Rex Endowment to help fund the Breastfeeding Collaborative.

“We want churches to become more breastfeeding friendly by helping educate the churches on why breastfeeding is important and help them spread the message to their congregation,” said Marnie Cooper Priest, project director of the Breastfeeding Collaborative.

Participating churches can apply for one of 10 mini-grants offered during the two-year program to create comfortable spaces in worship facilities for mothers who are breastfeeding. Priest said the money could be used to purchase rocking chairs, create a comfortable area within the nursery, or pipe in the worship audio for breastfeeding mothers who would like privacy.

An important component of the Breastfeeding Collaborative for participating congregations is the Breastfeeding Champion, who is a member of the congregation and will be provided specialized training to help the leadership and congregation understand the importance of breastfeeding for the health of mothers and babies.

Faith communities who are interested in participating in the Breastfeeding Collaborative will need to demonstrate that they serve a low-resource population and must attend a Breastfeeding Collaborative workshop open to both leaders and members. The faith community will also need to sign on as supporters of Breastfeeding-Friendly Congregations guidelines and take actions to help support breastfeeding mothers.

For more information, visit www.healthandwholeness.org or contact Marnie Cooper Priest at marnie@ncchurches.org or 919-828-6501.

National Day of Prayer

The 63rd annual National Day of Prayer takes place Thursday in locations across the country. One local observance is happening at the Wake Forest Town Hall at 11:30 a.m. Dr. Daniel Akin, president of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary will be joined by other area pastors as they call for prayers for the community, the state and the nation. Special prayers will also be offered up for the police officers, firefighters, EMS and other emergency personnel who protect the community and its citizens.

Trail of Hope

On Saturday from 8 a.m. until high noon, visitors are invited to "Hoof It" through the beautiful trails at the North Raleigh ranch of Hope Reins with friends and family. Walk the 1-mile wooded trail, meet the awesome horses, enjoy western fun, crafts, and Chick-Fil-A refreshments. Plus you’ll learn more about Hope Reins' mission of helping hurting kids and rescued horses.

The event is free, but requires pre-registration at Eventbrite.com.

Hoofin’ It! benefits Hope Reins of Raleigh and takes place on its 30 acres at 8974 Old Creedmoor Road in Raleigh, just north of the I-540 exit onto Creedmoor Road.

Keeping Kids Safe Online

Southbridge Fellowship is presenting “Unfiltered – A Parent Talk”, on Friday from 7:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. Southbridge’s Youth Pastor, Josh Tovey, and Bridge Kids Director, Brad Attice, will be leading a discussion on protecting children from potential dangers of the Internet.

The program takes place at the Brier Creek movie theater where Southbridge meets. Organizers ask that participants register ahead of time at Eventbrite.com.

Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus. Email her with news of upcoming events at least two weeks prior to the event date at carla.turchetti.writer @gmail.com.

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