It’s not uncommon to see children with bright red lipstick marks on their foreheads playing together in an area of St. John Missionary Baptist Church.
By those tell-tale signs, church members know Beaulah Knight is somewhere in the building, and the children bearing the reminders of her crimson kisses are some of “Mama Knight’s kids.”
That’s how it has been for 65 years at the church, 5700 N Kelley.
The St. John congregation is preparing to honor Knight as she retires as assistant nursery superintendent after serving in the position for more than six decades.
Anna Sharp, Knight’s daughter, said a retirement reception for Knight is planned for Aug. 24. She said the congregation also plans to honor her mother by naming the church nursery “The Beaulah Knight Nursery.”
On a recent Sunday morning, Knight, 84, said she didn’t really know how to feel as she prepares to leave her beloved nursery.
“I have mixed emotions, because I love babies,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Sharp said her mother is retiring from her nursery duties due to health reasons but will still attend church and serve as a deaconness and an usher.
From the start
Knight said she and her late husband, Clois, were married in 1949 in a little white house near the church’s former building at Second Street and Phillips Avenue. (The house was relocated to the church’s current property.)
The retired cosmetologist said she was asked shortly after her marriage to become a nursery leader. She accepted but literally ran into a snag, she said.
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Retirement reception for Beaulah Knight
Every Sunday morning at 9 o’clock, I’m here. I want to give God all the praise, because He gave me the health and strength to come here.”
assistant nursery superintendent at St. John Missionary Baptist Church