Welcoming Breastfeeding and Radical Hospitality

This article had its origin in a brief post by Shivaun Wilkinson, Missioner for Parish Engagement at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church, where I serve as the Rector (or Senior Pastor) in response to the article “Breastfeeding on the rise but at Church is still an issue” on Religion News Service, it started ad hoc conversation among several people in our congregation. One confirmed that fear of silent disapproval had indeed a deterent to some of her friends. Another noted how welcoming it felt to guests of our church who happen to be nursing mothers to have a member of our clergy team (Mother Shivaun) regularly breasfeeding her newborn after church services. Still another, a blogger and photographer, suggested it would feel even more welcoming if we had a picture of said breast-feeding clergy on our Facebook page and website. For my part, I suggested an article on welcoming breastfeeding as an extension of our commitment to radical hospitality and non-proselytizing evangelism. The rest was up to Mother Shivaun.

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In response to this article:breastfeeding on the rise but at church still an issue

Shivaun (edited)


This is me, breastfeeding at an Outreach committee meeting. I have also been know to duck to the back when a colleague is preaching to nurse my fussy infant.


When my daughter was born, she nursed literally every two hours. She wasn’t efficient at first and a dear friend sent a lactation consultant to our apartment as a gift. With an improved latch, advice to breast feed and then pump the extra needed ounce until she became more efficient and the promise that, with time and practice, she and I would get the hang of it, Miriam and I carried on. I was not the epic failure that I thought I was.


However, I still breastfed in hiding. Miriam didn’t like the cover and stopped nursing the minute it was on her…

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One thought on “Welcoming Breastfeeding and Radical Hospitality

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