When the term First Lady is heard, thoughts immediately turn to the beautiful and regal Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States. However, in some churches the term is also used as an affectionate designation for the pastor’s wife.
Who is a First Lady? She spends the majority of her time within the walls of the sanctuary on Sundays. If she has young children, her accessories include a diaper bag, a small tub of cheerios, and a small toy to keep the little ones amused. She must use the eyes in the back of her head to make sure that her teen does not slip out of the service. She has perfected the nuanced nod to the usher that is code for “Please, go get my child.”
There are weekly Bible studies and other church activities that require the First Lady’s presence and most importantly, she has the 24/7 role of wife and helpmeet. Some may serve as co-pastors, which come with additional responsibilities.
Maryland Family Christian Center (MFCC) showed their First Lady, Tonita Bell just how much they appreciated her and her sacrifices this past Sunday when they honored the wife of Pastor Jerome Bell for her faithfulness. Pastors and their wives from area churches came out and paid homage during the celebration. It was evident from the remarks that the First Lady Bell has established a partnership in ministry with her husband that has become a model for MFCC members.
Elder Richard E. Toye, Jr. began the evening with prayer and Jonathan Bell read the scripture. Program highlights included selections from the women of Jimmy Russell and BOC and an acapella medley by Tynette Daniels that included “Alabaster Box.” Minister Stacey Barber brought the Word and told First Lady Bell that she was destined for greatness.
View photos of the celebration for First Lady Tonita Bell.
Does a First Lady wear multiple hats? Absolutely! First Lady Bell has served in many positions at MFCC including Chair of the Women’s Ministry. What’s more, she has managed to stay fully engaged in ministry while working full-time. Many would agree she exemplifies the Proverbs 31 woman.
On Sunday morning in churches across the nation, pastors will take to their pulpits to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. With nods and amens their wives will cheer them on, having lifted them up in prayer as only a wife can. They are often unsung “she-ros” standing firm in faith.
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