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Faces in The Pews

Meet Donna Hall

Meet Donna Hall.  A bundle of energy, doer, motivator, and woman of action are words that have been used to describe the always smiling Donna Hall. Donna grew up in Atlantic City, and moved to Elizabeth, NJ in 1979 where for many years, she attended a church with strong family ties.

For the past 28 years she has worked for several pharmaceutical companies. Her career path advanced her to a management position for Global Generic pharmaceutical leaders. Donna is responsible for operations and personnel in credit and collection, and the accounts receivable departments, a position she has held for the last 10 years. Donna’s positive attitude, with over 30 years of experience in customer relations, makes her a valuable asset in her organization. Donna has always loved being around people. She has been credited with facilitating problem resolution between wholesalers and retailers, also ensuring payments are completed and expenses are controlled efficiently, timely, and accurately.

Outside of her time at work, Donna enjoys travelling and spending time with her daughter, grand-daughter, and son-in-law. She has been an avid bowler for over 30 years and is a member of the Strike Merchants Bowling Club/Scholarship Foundation for more than two decades. She describes the group as a “special team,” a combination of young, retired, experienced, and inexperienced bowlers. To date, the foundation has raised and distributed more than $1M in scholarships. The bowling league has an extensive travel portfolio that includes yearly tournaments around the country. Today, Donna bowls twice a week and is proud of her “modest” average of 183! She speaks of the longevity of her friendships in the league, and the group of family and friends that has not missed a cruise or resort vacation in 30 years!!

After being at her family’s home church since her teenage years, Donna wanted to venture out and seek out a new church. It was during a discussion with a colleague and friend, Nichelle Esser, when she was invited to a service at Morning Star to hear her friend’s uncle preach. She recalls her excitement that there was an 8am service that would allow her to visit and still leave in time to not miss service at her home church. By the third visit Donna knew that she needed to transition. In October 2003 she joined the Morning Star family and immediately started attending both worship services. “After listening to Pastor Therman’s teachings, Donna says she couldn’t believe she has been in church all her life and never understood the sermons as clearly as she does now. “I could apply it to my daily life,” Donna says. “When I am going through hard times, I know God is with me and that makes me smile.”

She is co-chair of the Board of Ushers and a member of the Public Relations ministry, which allows her the opportunity to promote and disseminate information about her amazing church family.

Reading the book, “From Purpose to Promise Driven Life,” authored by Pastor Therman Evans, has empowered Donna to prepare and succeed in life. One of the lessons that Donna has learned is that “promise driven people have an optimistic attitude,” and they must also prepare.

Donna urges everyone to read this insightful book. Her favorite scripture is Philippines 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.”

Meet Emmanuela Pasteur

Meet Emmanuela Pasteur.  Emmanuela (Mannie) Pasteur was born in Newark, New Jersey to Reverend Dr. Saint Pierre and Dauphine Pasteur. Her parents are from Haiti and have lived in the US for 46 years. She has three brothers; two older and one younger, and a nine year old son, DeLeon.

Mannie completed her secondary education at Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations with a Bachelor of Science degree in Labor Studies. She is currently pursuing an MBA at Strayer University. Also, she is in a two-year fellowship program with Leadership Newark, Inc. The fellowship focuses on developing and enhancing the leadership skills for professionals committed to positively impacting the City of Newark.

For the past 16 years, Emmanuela has worked as a Management Assistant in the Office of Faculty Affairs at Rutgers University, where her responsibilities include handling processes to recruit and place new faculty in the Biomedical and Health Sciences units, maintaining employee records, and preparing exit interviews and separation documentation for terminated employees. She also ensures that faculty members are working in compliance with the university’s bylaws.

After the birth of her son and searching for spiritual and personal growth, a colleague, Glynis Sanders, invited her to visit Morning Star. Through the leadership and teaching of Pastor Therman and Lady B, Mannie has learned to love and serve others. She is chairperson of the Singles Ministry, co-chair of KICK (Kids in Christ’s Kingdom), and serves the homeless through the ministry of Operation Warm Heart. She also volunteers with the Sisters Network of Central New Jersey, an organization which works to increase awareness to the devastating impact that breast cancer has in the African American community. Additionally, Emmanuela is a member of the Urban League of Essex County Young Professionals and co-chair of the organization “JUSDOSUMTHIN” where she mentors children, providing them with homework assistance and building life skills.

Fluent in French and Haitian Creole, Mannie has witnessed, experienced and participated in the concept of servant-leadership. Many of her qualities have been nurtured through her parents, both ministers, at the Church of God in Newark, NJ. She has watched these two strong, Caribbean, immigrants make a difference in the lives of her family by raising four successful children.

Through Pastor Therman’s sermons, Emmanuela says she can understand the Word and is able to relate it to everyday life. “Morning Star is a welcoming church; it makes people feel like part of a family.”

Fun facts: Spending time with family and friends, traveling, photography, and reading books with the Book Club “Pleasure Reading Circle.” She loves to laugh and have a good time, and welcomes great and meaningful conversations! Her motto: “Happiness is a direction, not a destination.”

Emmanuela has been a member of Morning Star for eight years. Her favorite scripture is Psalm 23, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…

Meet the Josephs

Meet the Josephs.  The newlyweds joined Morning Star while attending services during their courtship. Dolph already had a relationship with the Star; his parents were married by the late Bishop Irvin Evans, founder, after emigrating from Haiti.

Dolph attended a local Haitian church but would visit Morning Star frequently. His high school sweetheart Brenee Williams was born in Elizabeth and lived in Roselle before moving to Linden with her family. Brenee had deep Baptist roots that were enforced during her visits to family in Newberry, South Carolina. She was always active in church, participating in youth activities and the youth choir.

While attending college, her church attendance lessened. Months before graduation she mentioned to Dolph, her boyfriend then, a need to join a church. They attended Morning Star together and have been here ever since.

Brenee is a Hampton University alum with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Masters of Health Science with a specialization in Community Health Education from New Jersey City University. She currently works as a Spinal Cord Nurse at Kessler Rehab and with Bayada Nursing, a pediatric-based home healthcare agency. Dolph is a Kean University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. They both have put their degrees to work at Morning Star. Brenee serves as one of the chairpersons of the Health and Wellness Ministry and is a member of Anointed Worship Dance Ministry. Dolph has participated in several drama ministry productions such as “The Reenactment” and the “Christmas Cantata.” He has also participated in several Youth Ministry events as he remembers how influential the men of Morning Star were in his life as a youth.

The newlyweds exchanged vows on September 8, 2016. They continue to enjoy their shared interests such as traveling, family time, exercise and Haitian music. They would like others to know that Morning Star members go out of their way to make you feel comfortable with either a warm embrace or conversation. For Dolph, Morning Star still continues the legacy of Bishop Evans — Bishop assisted Dolph’s family when it was of no benefit to Bishop. Bishop was a source of reference for Dolph’s parents as they immersed themselves in the new American culture. Doing so, has made a lasting impression in his life.

Dolph’s favorite verse is 1 John 4:20. This verse encourages him to be more accepting and forgiving of others. Brenee’s favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6. In referring to this verse, Brenee believes that God has most surely guided their footsteps. The couple speaks of their renewed faith under the leadership of Pastor Therman and Lady B’s example. They look forward to next level worship and ministry, for years to come.

Meet Twonna ‘Lynn’ Spears

Meet Twonna ‘Lynn’ Spears. Twonna’s first introduction to Morning Star came through childhood friend Andrea Allen, who extended the invitation for her to attend Pastor and Lady Bernetta’s first anniversary banquet. Immediately after, Twonna began attending services, and a few months later she joined.

Twonna has been in church all of her life as it was a requirement of her parents growing up. She admits now that it has given her a great foundation, one that she wants for her children Ashley, 17 and Jason, 7. It is the teachings from Pastor Therman that were so phenomenal she was able to understand the messages and apply them to her daily life. She knew early that Morning Star was the place for her and her children.

Twonna speaks of the friendships she has with some wonderful women: Nicole Gymiah, Nichelle Esser, Diane Pope, and Diane Little. Since becoming a member, Twonna has worked on many projects at Morning Star and along with being a member of the mass choir, she also serves with the Church Information Center (CIC). Everything about Morning Star is what Twonna says she needs in her life. She adores Pastor Evans and Lady B and sees them as second parents. The friendships, members and love shown to her and her children are nothing less than top notch.

Twonna is an Account Manager for a generic pharmaceutical company in Parsippany, NJ. She enjoys cooking, party planning, and loves spending time with family and friends. She is an avid bowler, holding a 185 average. She bowls with a league and is a member of a bowling club that travels to various cities and states competing on the amateur level. That is not all… her passion is the artistry of make-up, and her goal is to make women feel special, teaching proper skin care, and color application. She also supplies products for men care.

Twonna encourages anyone seeking a church home to “come in, take a seat, be a blessing to others and you will be filled. There are no perfect churches but the best church on earth is here at Morning Star!”

Her favorite scripture is Joshua 24:15 – “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the river or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

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Philippians 4:13

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.