Maryland church’s baby shower helps hundreds

CLINTON, Md. (BP) – More than 500 pregnant women and new moms crowded Clinton Baptist Church May 11 for a Community Baby Shower and Resource Fair. The church linked arms with one of its favorite long-time partners, MedStar Health of Southern Maryland, for the win-win event.

In addition to the needed resources, the church also used the opportunity to build bridges with its community and offer care and prayer support. A prayer room was open near the front, and the church’s outreach team was throughout the building, chatting with moms, encouraging them, giving out tracts, and sharing with those they met as they felt led. Two young women made professions of faith.

“We’re here to celebrate parenthood and raising children,” Pastor Colin Pugh told the guests as he welcomed them along with his wife Jeanette.

The couple understands the difficulties that can come with pregnancy – particularly unplanned pregnancy.

“We had our first child at 15 in middle school,” he told the crowd. “We were scared and devastated, but we know you can be successful.”

Taking the mic, Jeanette said, “God has truly blessed you to be a mom or dad. Don’t take that lightly. God loves you. He loves your baby. He died for you. People are going to count you out because you don’t have everything society says you should have as a parent, but God will supply everything you need.”

She encouraged new parents to turn to the Bible for guidance.

MedStar brought more than 30 vendors offering essentials for new moms and dads. Visitors watched carefully as professionals demonstrated how to install car seats and swaddle a baby. Others showed how to keep kids safe — avoiding fires, treating burns and preventing overheating. Vendors offered information about autism awareness, creative play, stress management and exercise for moms and children. Lactation specialists were on hand to help expecting and new moms with nursing techniques and answer questions. Counselors were there to assist in finding services for postpartum needs.

In the hallway, a nurse was taking blood pressure, advising moms on the dangers of postpartum preeclampsia and encouraging them to keep taking their blood pressure. She referred many to their doctors.

Clinton Baptist Church member Colina Pugh, the pastor’s twin sister, arrived in the early morning to decorate the fellowship hall with pink and blue balloons donated by a local company and table decorations with a festive baby theme. MedStar held drawings for small items like onesies and toys and larger ones, including giant boxes of diapers, portable cribs and car seats.

As a bonus, families could register on the spot for WIC and SNAP. The church also gave away bags of groceries.

Over the past three years, the church and MedStar have often partnered for blood drives, health fairs, prostate screenings and diabetes prevention.

Charmaine Scarlett, director of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital, shared that, following the work of a community health task force and needs assessments, the studies determined a need for maternal health, especially in the Black population.

“A lot of it is access to care,” Scarlett said, “and we wanted to make sure they have access to sustainable care throughout the pregnancy spectrum and postpartum. We know that sometimes there are issues that occur with blood pressure that make preeclampsia an issue in our community.

“We want to make sure that not only are we providing healthy, nutritious food, but we want to make sure we build a safety net of vendors and community partnerships so that the women and families see this is all available here — and not just here, but in their communities.

“We are happy to partner with Clinton Baptist on this initiative and all of our initiatives as well.”

The pastor said the church hopes to meet more than just physical needs.

“The harvest is plentiful,” he said. “In addition to providing physical resources, we need to understand the spiritual aspect. They need God and can’t make it without Him.

“We’re using this platform to put God on a stage so people will be drawn to Him by what we say and do here.”

This article originally appeared at

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Sharon Mager is communications specialist for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.)

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