Strong Faith in God and healthy habits have contributed to Mother Hutchinson’s longevity and strength.

Mother Juanita Hutchinson (Courtesy photo)

Friends, family, and admirers recently stopped by to celebrate the 103rd birthday of the beautiful, admired, healthy, and beloved woman of God and centenarian, Mother Juanita Hutchinson, on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at her home in Los Angeles.

This year’s celebration was hosted by Missionary Phyllis Leftwich and the L.A. team of Abundant Life Missions, Inc.

Born on Sunday, January 30, 1921, in Pioneer, Louisiana, Hutchinson moved to California around 80 years ago, when her one and only child, daughter Ethel Despenza, was about seven years old.

A member of West Angeles Church of God in Christ for well over 40 years, Hutchinson joyfully received a call from Presiding Bishop Emeritus Charles E. Blake, Sr., and First Lady Emeritus Mae Blake of West Angeles Church of God in Christ.  They both spoke words of encouragement to Hutchinson and sang “Happy Birthday” to her.

Related Links:

Thereafter, Hutchinson opened some of her gifts, one of which she loved, and decided to put on over what she was wearing. Hutchinson then came out wearing her beautiful gift,  walked out toward her designated seat, unassisted, with a seemingly royal gait, powerfully singing one of her favorite songs: “Walk With Me, Lord”.

Can You Do This? (Mother Hutchinson Showing How to Stretch (Courtesy photo)

After a time of more great songs, everyone sang happy birthday and enjoyed a lovely meal with the birthday queen.  Being in excellent health, Hutchinson had no dietary restrictions and was able to enjoy anything that she desired.

Sister Elizabeth McClodden, who was at the celebration, was asked, “What would you say about Mother Hutchinson?”

“She’s a woman of God! I first met her over 40 years ago, when she was going to convalescent homes. When she came, rather than have a service, which is often done, she would go around and talk to all the people, and touch the people, and I noticed the positive way that the people responded to her ministry. Her ministry was different than anything I had ever seen before,” said McClodden.

“I had been around her and admired her for all of that time, but when she was about 95 years old, I told her that I wanted her to be my mentor.  She didn’t even know what a mentor was. So, I let her know, that means, ‘I want to be like you.’ So, I’ve been attached to her especially since I asked her to be my mentor.

“When I asked Mother Hutchinson, ‘What is the secret to your long life?’ She would say, ‘I just love God,’ but I noticed that she has excellent habits, such as eating the tangerines from her tree throughout the day, and the regular stretching and exercises that she does,” concluded McClodden.

Hutchinson’s eldest grandchild, psychologist Belethia Despenza-Myers, said, “Who I am today is 90 % because of my grandmother. My grandmother was always brought up in the church, and she’s always loved the Lord. She is one of the wisest and godliest women that I’ve ever met. She used to tell me all the time, ‘We’ve got to put God first, and God is everything.’

“My grandmother would go all over to witness to people every single day except for Sunday, and she took me along with her.  We often went to the east side of town where my grandmother passed out tracts, and she would have me pass out tracts too,” recalled Despenza-Myers.

Mother Hutchinson, telling stories of her younger days back home in Louisianna (Denise J. Gibbs/L.A. Sentinel)

“I remember standing in front of the liquor stores, my grandmother would let people know that God loved them.  She also witnessed to people in the rest homes, and we visited many who were sick, shut-in, and in hospitals.  My grandmother even did ministry in the prisons. I don’t know too many people who were as involved in ministry as my grandmother was,” she noted.

“When I was 9 or 10, my grandmother took me to a tent revival one night, that was put on at Greater Page Temple COGIC by Bishop Page. God led my grandmother to serve there for many years where she was heavily involved in all kinds of positions such as Sunday School teacher.

“Years later, I called my grandmother around 3 am to tell her about a miracle that happened to me. Later that same morning, my grandmother said, ‘There’s this church I want you to go to, and  I’m going to pick you and the kids up and take you there.’ That church was West Angeles Church of God in Christ. My daughter is 45 years old now, so that was well over 40 years ago when we joined West Angeles Church.

“While a member of  West Angeles church, my grandmother was a Sunday School teacher and became one of the church mothers.  It wasn’t until my grandmother’s driving privileges were taken away when she was in her 90s, that my grandmother stopped her ministry.

“I can tell you, and my family will agree that the reason she’s still alive is her good eating habits, regular exercise, and a life lived 100% sold out for Jesus Christ!”

Watch Mother Hutchinson Singing on her 103rd Birthday at

Watch Mother Hutchinson’s Very Special Conversation here at