This article explores the work of the Rev. Charleszetta “Mother” Waddles (1912–2001), an independent African American Christian minister who operated the Perpetual Mission for Saving Souls of All Nations in Detroit, Michigan. It argues that Mother Waddles sought to reshape and repurpose the spiritual rhetoric of New Thought theology—especially the concept of “positive thinking”—for her daily practice as a home missionary and for others living in similar circumstances. Mother Waddles was distinct from other twentieth-century, African American New Thought messengers because she sought to speak to and change the lives and mindsets of other impoverished African Americans without making a theological case for their divine entitlement to material prosperity or by encouraging their desire for financial wealth. Her undated, self-published book, Attributes and Attitudes, offered twelve divine virtues that every potential home (urban) missionary worker should embody—as well as twelve negative attitudes they must reject—in order to serve others.

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