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April 11, 2022

Wrapped in God’s Embrace: Maternal Health, Flourishing, and Building Communities of Care

The United Methodist Health Ministry Fund (Health Fund) is pleased to release a maternal health sermon guide. The Health Fund is committed to supporting the health and wholeness of all Kansans, including mothers. Maternal health intersects with two of our priority focus areas: Access to Care and Early Childhood Development.

Maternal and child health are early indicators of future public health challenges, which is why it is critical for mothers and children to have the healthiest start to life. Healthy mothers are important to building healthy families, but mothers often face mental and physical health issues that, without timely support and care, can impact not only their own well-being and quality of life but also present additional hurdles to the work of caring for children and loved ones. Infrastructure, supports, and communities of care for mothers are necessary for all Kansans to have the best start in life.

Research shows supporting a strong start to life for mothers and babies and investing early creates not only the best health outcomes, but also the greatest return on investment. At the Health Fund we are committed to ensuring mothers and our youngest Kansans enjoy nurturing family environments, so they are primed for healthy lives.

Beyond supporting program and policy investments, we want to create a loving and caring environment that supports maternal health, which is why we created this sermon guide.

This sermon guide, Wrapped in God’s Embrace: Maternal Health, Flourishing, and Building Communities of Care, acknowledges the vocation of motherhood and its impacts on family and community life. When considering maternal health, consider it as all issues related to the well-being of persons who give birth and/or take on the labor of motherhood in the lives of children. These issues include reproductive health, preventive care, mental health services, and emotional support services for mothers, as well as the points at which children’s health intersects with maternal health. This sermon guide will challenge readers to take a closer look at how mothers and their children are supported inside and outside of the church and the ways a child’s health is tied closely to their parent’s health and access to health care.

Through interpretative principles, this guide will address the often unseen struggles of motherhood, identify biblical text that will empower mothers, and will ultimately encourage readers to advocate and support for the health and legacy of motherhood and the well-being of the next generation.

Each week includes a call to worship, hymn selections, children’s sermon, call to action, and benediction, in addition to an exegesis and sermon notes section based on the week’s scripture passage. Week 1 introduces Mary’s birth story in the Gospel of Luke as a window into postpartum health and the supports women need in the first hours, days, and weeks of motherhood with a new child. Week 2 centers around the Canaanite Woman and the work of mothers as advocates for the well-being of the family, followed by Week 3 in which we witness how God guides Elijah, the Widow of Zarephath, and her son to form a community of care in the midst of hardship and crisis. The guide concludes in Week 4 with a return to Mary the Mother of the adult Jesus who, as a grown child, shows the fruit of secure attachment in early childhood.

We’d love to hear from you! Did you use the sermon guide and/or toolkit? Would you be willing to share your feedback and experiences? Questions or suggestions? Please email us at hcnews@healthfund.org.

Resources in this sermon guide

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Social Media Tiles

Below are social media tiles to help you promote the series. We would love to know if you use the guide—please tag us on Twitter or Facebook (@umhealthfund).

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