Daphne Nicely – a woman with a vision and passion

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ATLANTA– In the United States, Georgia is ranked last in maternal mortality. In fact, the mortality rate for women in Georgia is more than double the national average. Additionally, the infant mortality rate has also increased in recent years. Daphne Harris Nicely found this statistic to be unacceptable and decided to do something about it.

Daphne Harris Nicely is the founding executive director of Atlanta Morning Center. Submitted photo

Nicely left corporate America in March 2007 for full time missions and ministry service. She began volunteering with the Atlanta Pregnancy Resource Center (APRC) shortly after it opened in April 2007, and was hired in mid-July 2007 as the client services director and volunteer coordinator. By July 2013 she was serving as the executive director and CEO of APRC. She has been serving in her current role as the founding executive director of Atlanta Morning Center since July 2017.

Nicely’s ties with Southern Baptists is strong. She is a founding member of One Heart Church in historic Norcross where she has been active in Ladies of One Heart and served in OHC Kids as well as student and college/career ministries for nine years. She has also served on the praise team, missions lead team, and was on staff as the assistant to the children’s minister from September 2009 to August 2014. She has also been a vital part of the church’s ministry to Romania, having made twelve trips to the Eastern European country serving in orphanages, teaching English to speakers of other languages, and leading in discipleship and evangelism endeavors. To add further validation to her ministry, Nicely was commissioned to the Mission Service Corps by the North American Mission Board and endorsed as a lay chaplain by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2008.

 As a true champion for life, Nicely is passionate and committed to the sanctity of all human life and personhood, and yet her ministry is all about prenatal, maternity, and postpartum care. Her commitment to God’s Word has taught her that this should be a foundational issue for all believers and followers of Christ and His church. Unwavering in her belief, Nicely stands in the gap for the lives of the preborn and educates women and men on abortion alternatives; promotes healing of the post-abortive woman, and encourages the involvement of fathers at every stage of their child’s life. Because of her deep convictions she is also bringing awareness to the many issues that link pregnancy and intimate partner violence, including reproductive coercion.

Daphne Harris Nicely and one week old DeidreHannah who was born premature at 32 3/7 weeks and weighed only 2 lbs and 15 oz at birth. Daphne had been in the hospital for nearly eight weeks before being induced. Daphne and DeidreHannah almost died multiple times before the health of both was assured. GEORGE E. HARRIS/Special

In addition to these issues, she also presents the Biblical plan for marriage and the family and Christian sexual ethics – the spiritual, emotional, and health benefits of sexual integrity to not only those served by her various organizations, but also to other groups, churches, schools, and organizations. Despite suffering eleven miscarriages, Nicely was blessed to give birth to a daughter, DeidreHannah, with whom she enjoys life and ministry.

 As a result of her own infertility, high-risk pregnancies and pregnancy losses (a total of eleven miscarriages, with seven occurring after prenatal care had begun) Nicely’s life experiences give ample expression as to why she has become the executive director of the Atlanta Morning Center, which is a life-affirming ministry launched by Samaritan Ministries International in 2011 out of love for mothers and their newborns. The Morning Center seeks to provide patient-centered prenatal through postpartum care to women at risk of abortion, in the name of Jesus, at no charge. The Morning Center hopes to be  an outlet that curbs the alarming number of abortions and abortion providers in America.

Daphne Harris Nicely (right) receives an ultrasound unit and an exam table donated to the Atlanta Morning Center by Laura Strabley, executive director of Carolina Pregnancy Center in Greenville, NC. Submitted photo

Nicely recently stated, “Atlanta Morning Center draws attention to maternal and fetal health issues. This ministry is an extension of the pro-life emphasis because we want to do more than save the life of the baby. We want to contribute to a healthy pregnancy as well as a good birth outcome. Our concern is for both the mother and the baby.”

Nicely, a bright, energetic and intelligent woman with a vibrant faith explained, “Our ministry is not a pregnancy resource center, crisis pregnancy center, or a pregnancy medical center. Additionally, we are not in competition with those or other pregnancy care/help organizations, but rather I am seeking to develop intentional partnerships to collaborate for the cause of life and the cause of Christ. The Atlanta Morning Center is the next integral piece in the pro-life ecosystem. Our mission statement is: ‘The Morning Center exists to partner with the local  Church to provide prenatal through postpartum care to moms in need, in the name of Jesus.’”

“The Morning Center expanded into Atlanta from the pilot city of Memphis, Tennessee, where Memphis Morning Center has been operating for over 5 years and has delivered more than 570 babies. Our primary model will be to establish our clinics on church campuses in order to utilize the body of Christ in ministry (e.g. discipleship, mentoring, counseling, education…). Our services are primarily intended for those in underserved and disenfranchised communities, underprivileged and/or medically indigent women, and we do this without accepting government funds. It’s true Christian charity, and it’s definitely a way for our suburban brothers and sisters to serve those in the inner city with the love and compassion of Christ in a very real and practical way that not only will save and change lives, but will also impact eternity.”

Nicely is seeking to build partnerships, enlist volunteers (including licensed medical, dental, and mental health professionals), and secure funding for the Atlanta Morning Center. Those interested in participating in this vital ministry should contact her at: daphne.nicely@morningcenter.org. For more information, check out the Atlanta Morning Center website or on Facebook.

In 2007 the Atlanta Pregnancy Resource Center received a $150,000 grant from the Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation. The funds were used to purchase ultrasound equipment for the agency.

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