Mother Mildred Casenia Hayward Wells

mother_wellsMother Mildred Casenia Hayward Wells was married to Bishop Nathaniel Wells Sr. for fifty-seven years. From that union were born four children – the eldest, Nathaniel Wyoming Wells Jr., the late Joyce Jean Bells, Patricia Casenia Wells and Elder Milton H. Wells.

Mother Wells was born the seventh child of George Henry and Gertrude Eleanor Hayward of Philadelphia. She was educated in the Philadelphia Public School System specializing in recreation and education. After embracing Christ, she taught in Vacation Bible School, Sunday School and Sunshine Band. She also conducted revivals and worked with her husband, sometimes teaching in services that he would be conducting. Mother Wells was given evangelistic papers in 1929.

Mother Wells’ avocation of working with children and teenagers brought her into national prominence. She organized a teenagers unit in the local church. Through her efforts she rose to various posts of leadership in the National Churches of God in Christ. National recognition was gained by her creation and publishing of Bible stories for children of all ages. Evolving from her work with the Sunshine Band at the local church, Mother Wells was inspired to edit a national publication, “Sunshine Band Topics.” “Sunshine Band Topics” is a quarterly publication which is mailed to the Churches of God in Christ in every state in the United States and Haiti. Haiti alone receives five hundred copies of this publication and requests have also come from Canada, England, and South Africa. Mother Wells was appointed National Editor of “Sunshine Band Topics” by the late Mrs. Lillian B. Coffey, Women’s National and State Supervisor. In connection with her position as National Teenage Leader, Mother Wells had the tremendous task of a program for the 1960 Youth Congress. It was held in Washington, D. C. and she was responsible for outlining the entire program of religious and social activities of “Teenagers for Christ.”

In June of 1961 Mother Wells served as program chairman of the national meeting of the Young People’s Willing Workers of which the Teenage group is a unit. She gathered talent from states all over the United States for the big Talent Program held in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mother Wells was appointed by Bishop Ozro T. Jones Sr. M.A. of Philadelphia, Pa., Bishop of the Eastern Diocese of the Churches of God in Christ and the late Presiding Bishop of the Churches of God in Christ National and International; thereafter she organized Teenage Units in various other states. Because of her work with teenagers and the elderly, Mother Wells was appointed by Governor G. Mennen Williams as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging, held in Washington, D. C. in January 1961.

Mother Wells derived great satisfaction and much enjoyment from helping young people live by Christian principles and building morally wholesome lives. She was quick to detect leadership ability or talent in a young person and acted to foster these qualities. Gifted individuals were placed on programs at every opportunity so that they could gain experience and increase their confidence and poise. She was a firm believer that the busy young person had no time for juvenile delinquency. Mother Wells provided plenty of activities through her Teenage Program and Sunshine Band to keep minds and hands occupied.

Mother Wells served as Vice Chairman of the Berrien County Democratic Committee, Secretary of the Democratic Women’s Auxiliary of Berrien County, and Publicity Chairman during Gov. G. Mennen Williams administration in 1959. In 1974 she was presented a Certificate of Merit Award from the NAACP, and in 1975 the Community Groups also honored her for services to the community.