Famed Pastor Criticized for Policy Not to ‘Bless’ Babies Born Out of Wedlock Before Congregation

Winans twitterDETROIT — A famed Detroit pastor and Gospel singer has been receiving criticism in recent weeks over his alleged policy to not bless babies born out of wedlock in front of his congregation.

Pastor Marvin Winans of the acclaimed Winans family leads Perfecting Church in the city, which is attended by approximately 4,500 members. Winans, a multi-award winning Gospel singer, also serves a bishop over Perfecting Fellowship International, which has sister congregations in New York, Texas, Florida and Alabama, as well as in London and South Africa.

This month, Winans’ church had scheduled a baby dedication for children two and under. However, when one mother who recently began attending the church was told that her child couldn’t be blessed before the congregation, she took to her local FOX affiliate to express her disapproval.

Charity Grace, 39, is the mother of a two-year-old boy and is unwed. She states that she contacted Perfecting Church to obtain additional information about the baby dedication ceremony as she wanted to give her child to God.

“I want to instill values and morals in my son based upon the word of God,” she told television station WJBK.

But when Grace mentioned to the woman that answered the phone that she is a single mother, she states that she was informed that Winans does not bless children born out of wedlock openly before the congregation.

“Her exact words were, ‘Pastor Winans’ rules, policy and standards that he has is not to bless children in front of his congregation [that were conceived by] unwed mothers,'” she explained.

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However, Grace was informed that the church could still make other arrangements for her privately.

“What they could do for me is let my son get dedicated during a weekday with one of the elders of my choice,” she stated.

Grace now remarks that the incident made her feel “degraded,” and as a result, she does not plan to return to Winans’ church.

“I absolutely would not set foot back in the church right now because I feel like they look down upon me and ‘my kind,’ meaning single moms and unwed mothers,” she outlined. “The church should be the last place you should go to be judged and denied.”

Reaction to the report has been mixed. Commentator James Causey wrote in a recent article that while “some pastors would argue that changes in society’s morals do not mean the church should comply,” he believes Christians need to keep up with the times. He pointed to statistics that state that 44 percent of single mothers have never been married.

“The church makeup is different today, because society is different,” Causey wrote. “[I]f the church doesn’t become more accepting, it becomes irrelevant to those who probably need it the most.”

But others agree with Winans and opine that it is best not to suggest that the church condones fornication.

“No one said this child could not be dedicated,” wrote La’Jimmease Jones, a member of Winans’ church. “Her point was to do this in front of the congregation as to say to my babies and other young adults, ‘It’s okay to have sex without being married and get pregnant; look, the man of God ordains it! ”

“We have to respect the word of God and must have standards and believe in what we preach,” she continued. “No one turned the mother down or [her] child. I thought that the main thing was that this child be dedicated to God! Did not know you needed a congregation to do it!”

Winans has declined to comment on the matter. It is not known whether Grace has expressed regret for having sex outside of marriage.

Photo: Twitter


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  • Joe Dunfee

    There is also no mention in the WJBK article of the mother going to the church elders in regards to this policy before going to the news station. And another issue is that she said, “The church should be the last place you should go to be judged and denied”. But, scripture specifically commands churches to judge its members.

    On another issue related to this, doing the blessing in front of the congregation is making the sin of the mother apparent.

  • Rebecca

    I am not sure of the doctrines of this church, but I think Charity Grace was being unfair when she tried to say that they said that both “single moms” and “unwed mothers” could not dedicate their babies in their church. First of all, they didn’t say that. Second of all, a single mom is different than an unwedded mother, and she knows that. If she is a Christian, she would understand why this church would have this conviction and not make this situation all about her.

  • Sample

    Have to disagree. The mother may of repented, and why deny the baby the blessed opportunity of being dedicated to the Lord in the presence of the congregation just like other babies? When Jesus told his disciples not to deny the children from coming to him, he didn’t say only the kids who’s parents are married. Is this rule/law more important then giving that precious baby to God? If Jesus were to follow every law accordingly many would not of gotten healed,or saved, but he took into account what out weighed the law at that specific time, and broke it so that an act of love and mercy could be presented. Jesus is a God of mercy and forgiveness , and not one person in the congregation is without sin. Jesus allowed a prostitute to wash his feet IN FRONT OF THE CONGREGATION as a form of worship while others sat back judging , but she gave Jesus her all despite her sinful lifestyle, and Jesus didn’t turn her away. Nor did he take her to a back room…like this church is stating that the baby can be dedicated just not in front of the congregation. Now the mom is discouraged, and who knows if she’ll ever step foot in any church after the ordeal. The church/pastor needs to go after her in love, and make things right…leave the 4,500 members, and demonstrate to her the true love of Christ, and attach the babies heart to his maker.

  • Sample

    In addition to my last post are a couple scriptures i meant to add…Luke 14: 5 Which of you shall have an add,or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull out on the Sabbath day? Jesus showed how some parts of the law are weightier then others, and should take priority. Having the baby dedicated should of taken priority. Just because the other mom’s are married doesn’t mean they are free from sin…just some can be hidden easier. Luke 15 :2 And the Pharisees and Scribes grumbled saying “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So if Jesus did it who are we to deny anything Jesus offers to any man, woman,or child,or to take them to a back room to receive it?!! Not cool!!!

  • Brenda Pulido

    As a child out of wedlock myself, this is is the reason why I NEVER approach those who say love God. I don’t go to Christian Church, because I know they can kick me or emotionally hurt me by rejecting me or verbally abuse me if I dare to even step into their holy, married lives and holy churches.

    They love God, …..but they hate people like me.