538 Dr. M. L. King, Jr. Ave. | Memphis, TN 38126 | (901) 527-8292
The Madonna Guild
Reflections on Fifty Years of Christian
Fellowship and Service
In the fall of 1954 two young mothers of Mt. Olive C. M. E. Church, Theresa Franklin and Jeanette Cox, sat during the Sunday morning worship service trying to worship while caring for two restless babies. Out of frustrations they began to discuss the need for a church nursery. This led to their approaching pastor, Reverend Henry C. Bunton with their vision of a church nursery for infants and preschool-aged children. With the Pastor's approval, Jeanette and Theresa invited other young women to join them in establishing a church nursery. Thus, twenty-five women, with the support and guidance of Rev. Bunton, organized a club that was named the Madonna Guild.
Originally, the nursery was physically and financially supported by the Guild. The talents of members and their friends were used to renovate, decorate and furnish the nursery. Members served in the nursery, caring for the children on a rotating basis. Eventually, attendants were hired to take care of the children and manage the nursery. The Madonna Guild sponsored baby contests and sold fish and chitterlings dinners to fund the nursery. The nursery was indeed a ministry because it was the beginning of Christian Education for the children who were blessed by the nursery. As the Madonna Guild expanded, its service to Mt. Olive increased and provided support to various programs and projects of the church. The contributions were numerous; however, a few are highlighted below:
Production and sale of the Mt. Olive Cookbook (two editions) that featured a collection of recipes from Mt. Olive's great cooks.
Reflecting on the ministries of the Guild, one of the exemplary services was the Madonna Guild Coffee Room. The members saw the need for a place where members of the congregation could go to between services to relax, enjoy refreshments and fellowship. The Guild purchased furniture, including tables and chairs, a coffee urn, a coffee bar; and food supplies and table appointments for the Coffee Room. The Madonna Guild sponsored a grand opening of the Coffee Room and afterwards every Sunday morning members of the Guild hosted members who fellowshipped over refreshments. Free will contributions to the Coffee Room were used to support the nursery and later the college scholarship fund.
After sponsoring the nursery for thirty years, the Madonna Guild relinquished the sponsorship to the church, at the same time the Guild enthusiastically channeled its energy and efforts into a new ministry, the Mt. Olive Scholarship Fund. Each year the Madonna Guild provided scholarships to Mt. Olive's college students who were pursuing a baccalaureate degree. This was accomplished through financial support from the entire Mt. Olive membership.
The Madonna Guild continues to fulfill its mission of Christian fellowship and service to the church and community through financial contributions to community service organizations, including the Mid-South Food Bank, the Salvation Army Angel Tree and Hope House. In addition, the Guild has continued to raise funds that are used to support church ministries and to provide opportunities for cultural and spiritual programs for the church and the Memphis community.
Each one should use whatever gifts he had received to serve other faithfully administering God’s grace in various forms. 1 Peter 4:10
Marieta W. Harris
Mary Ann McNeil
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by Mt. Olive Cathedral C.M.E. Church
For more information contact us at:
Mt. Olive Cathedral C.M.E. Church
538 Dr. M. L. King, Jr. Ave.
Memphis, TN 38126 | (901) 527-8292