“Blessing is a ministry we started at Grace for mothers of young children, preschool age and younger,” said Becky Mercadante, coordinator of Blessing at Grace Fellowship Church. “It’s hard to get plugged into things in Orange County, but in Blessing, we all have at least one thing in common: we all have young children. God has really worked through it to develop and deepen relationships.”
Blessing is a program for mothers of young children designed to support and strengthen marriages and families. Blessing starts its second year on Tuesday, September 16.
Terri Paulick, Director of Women and Families at Grace, explained how the name came about.
“I wanted it to reflect that we are biblically based, but we’re also an outreach to the community and we welcome moms who don’t go to church,” Paulick said. “The Bible talks about the blessing and heritage of children, families and generations. Through this program, we can bless each other by supporting one another. The word “Blessing” is positive and upbeat, and has many meanings on many different levels.”
Mercadante explained that the morning consists of breakfast together, a speaker covering topics related to women and parenting from a Biblical perspective, and small group discussion, all while children receive quality care and teaching.
“It’s really been amazing for me,” Mercadante said. “I love the way it’s helped me plug in to my church. I really want to grow my family in faith, and these other moms help provide an anchor for me.”
“Once a quarter we do a craft project,” she continued. “Last year we did something for ourselves, and the next time we did something for the community. We made NICU blankets to put over the incubators at the NICU at Saddleback Hospital. It was great to come together and reach out to the community. We actually had a mom whose daughter was in that NICU and she said how much it meant not only to her, but also to the other moms who received those blankets. They gave a sense of home in a world of machines and tubes.”
The women bonded so well last year that many of them continued to have social events over the summer.
“We’ve had park play days, pot lucks and even a slumber party for the moms, complete with facials,” said Beth Jones, social coordinator for Blessing. “We have a Mentor Mom in each group, and one of the Mentor Moms had a beach house we enjoyed for our sleep over. Mentor Moms are women who have college age or older children. It’s great to have the resource and support of someone who has been through all the stages.”
“I didn’t know how amazing Blessing would be until I was in it,” Jones continued. “Being a mom can be a lonely job. You’re home alone a lot, and babies aren’t always the easiest. Blessing is a natural community of women coming together and we’ve built wonderful relationships. It’s been so supportive and it feels like were raising our kids together and sharing our lives. It’s well named.”
“Our church is so committed to encouraging families when their children are young that we are underwriting the cost of childcare and only charging the moms a fee of $55 for 12 weeks. It’s such a good deal,” Paulick added. “There are two sessions in the year. We see a mom’s role as crucial and we want to encourage women in their many important roles. We want to bless them. Full and practical scholarships are also available.”
For further information, contact gracefellowship.org.
Cindy can be reached at [email protected]