St. Paul Community Baptist Church
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Rev. Lesley Fitzgerald Shannon, Associate Pastor
On December 26, 1963 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, a gift of humanity came in the person of Lesley Fitzgerald Shannon; born to the care of Robert and Betty Shannon. Les grew up in East New York, Brooklyn and was educated in the New York City public school system.
Rev. MarQuerita Story, Special Assistant to the Senior Pastor
MarQuerita Story is the daughter and great granddaughter of Baptist preachers. Born in Charlotte, North Carolina to the Reverends Dr. Edward and Catherine Garrison, MarQuerita committing herself to full time ministry in 1998, consequently served as the Interim, Minister of Children, Youth and Young Adults from 1999-2000 at the First Institutional Baptist Church under the mentorship and visionary leadership of Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr. In the Fall 2000 she took a break from ministry in Arizona to actively pursue seminary training in Berkley, California.
MarQuerita is a graduate of the American Baptist Seminary of the West, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California; where she has earned her Masters of Divinity and was named the L. Doward McBain Fellow for the 2003 graduating class. There she focused her studies on preaching and Urban Ministries in the 21st Century and subsequently was ordained into the Gospel Ministry by Dr. Stewart in 2004.
Returning to the Phoenix area, MarQuerita served as a Stateside Missionary for the American Baptist, functioning as the Executive Director for Outreach in the greater Phoenix area. She also served the State of Arizona as the Faith and Community Liaison Volunteer Coordinator for their Emergency Assistance response for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Her ministry mentors are Bishop Ernestine Cleveland-Reems (Center of Hope Community Church, Oakland, California) and the Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. (Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland, California)
MarQuerita was a faithful member and committed servant of the Berean Church of Phoenix, Arizona. Under the pastoral leadership of Senior Pastor, Fredrick L. Fairley, Sr.; serving on Church Staff,it was her responsibility to assist the Senior Pastor in supporting and strengthening the ministry of the Berean Church. Prior to joining the SPCBC family, Rev. Story was the Regional Ministry Evangelism Director for the Baptist Resource Network for Pennsylvania/South Jersey. She is the ministry leader of These Are The Daughters Ministries; a published writer; sought after conference facilitator and speaker; teacher; and servant of Jesus Christ. It is her mission and mandate to mentor and train Daughters of Sons of the Most High!
Min. Jerry L. Simmons, Associate Minister
Minister Jerry Simmons arrived in the halls of St. Paul in the Fall of 2005, but was born Jerry Lamond Simmons, April 15, 1977. Born in Harlem USA, at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. The middle son of three boys born to Jerry Fields and Vernell Simmons, Jerry was raised in Harlem NY and moved to Suffolk county Long Island where he received a degree in Culinary Arts at New York Institute of Technology in 1997.
Jerry began his ministerial journey at Greater Works Apostolic Ministries in Central Islip, NY under the Pastorate of Apostle Joan M. Hicks. His call to ministry, he describes as an “obscure occurrence”, literally being “set up” by God to preach. One Sunday morning, his Pastor called for everyone to write prayer requests on small pieces of paper and leave them at the altar. Before preaching, she noticed one very small piece had blown behind the pulpit. Picking up the paper and in prophetic prose announced that God said, “The person who wrote this request will preach from this pulpit”. She asked who wrote the word “peace” as their request. Praying that someone else had written that as well, and when no one answered, he announced the request was his. That night Pastor Hicks called for an afternoon service and he was the guest preacher.
Shortly after Jerry was selected as the youngest Deacon at Greater Works, and licensed to preach on New Year’s Day of 2001. Two years after he was ordained as an Elder and Co-Armor-bearer to the Pastor Hicks and her now, late husband Elder William Hicks. Jerry founded and begin the dance ministry “Manhood Praise”. He has had the honor of opening for Daryl Coley, The Clark Sisters, and debuted at Twinkie Clark’s taping of the “Live from Charlotte” album.
Moving back to Harlem in 2005, Jerry accepted a job working for the Department of Education, School Food division where he managed multiple food service cafeterias in NYC school systems. He has been chosen Employee of the Year in 2008, 2009 and 2011. He is the recent recipient of the city employees union Local 237 IBT President’s Award in February 2012. He now serves as the New York School Food Citywide Training Manager where he prepares new employees on the policies and procedures of the organization, including professional and leadership development; which he counts as another form of Ministry. “I’m preparing people to serve, people; isn’t that what church is all about?”
His long time friend and spiritual brother Jason Heyward invited him to St. Paul to dance for a Front Line Ministry (FLM) event in 2006, just after he joined St. Paul earlier that year. He was led to join the Eldad Medad Men’s Dance ministry and the 2008 cast of the MAAFA and “the struggle continues”…and has been an essential piece of the sacred arts ministry ever since.
In 2007 Jerry met the 2nd love of his life (next to dancing) and two years later handed Ms. Deirdre Cash an M.R.S degree. “She truly is my Prime Rib”, he always says. They have now made their home in East New York. Although called to preach, the then Elder Simmons had never shared with many that he was a preacher and in 2010 Pastor Brawley requested to meet with him and asked him three simple questions; again in prophetic prose, “You’re a preacher right, when are you going to start preaching? God was still in the set up business, he reminisced. Elder Simmons was licensed to preach on the Wednesday before Father’s Day, June 16th 2010, and began working with the St. Paul youth by attended Quiver bible study. He now teaches the Tuesday night Team Q Youth Ministry J.V. and Varsity division bible study.
This is where God has planted me and I’ve been called to do ministry. Where I do it is up to God, I just want to do my best and I’m so glad that God has planted me here at St. Paul. I try to live by the words recorded in Philippians 3:12-14
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Min. Cortez L. Stallings, Jr., Associate Minister
Cortez L. Stallings, Jr., has actively demonstrated and pursued his calling to Christian discipleship, church leadership and social service for more that 25 years. Sensing the work of God early in his life he became baptized at age 11 at the First Church of God in Far Rockaway, NY under Rev., Dr. James E. Cray (Pastor Emeritus)He later accepted the call and was licensed to the preaching ministry (May, 1985) under the current Senior Pastor Dr. Arthur W. Davenport, serving there faithfully as Associate Minister. He held several positions while in ministry Director of the Christian Training & Recreation Day Care Ministry, Director of the Vacation Bible School Summer Day Camp, Youth Minister, Founding Coordinator of the Neighborhood In-Home Bible Cell Study Group, Church liaison/organizer to the IAF/Industrial Area Foundation - Queens Citizens Organization (receiving the famed 10 day organizer's training). Minister Stallings’ journey has lead him to Mission work abroad. In 1988 he was selected from thousands of the applicants nationwide to accompany a team of short-term missionaries affiliated with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (called Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship in the US) to serve in India. Partnering with Christian Nationals and agencies, he ministered to people in small villages, colleges, and urban settings including Mumbai (Bombay), Calcutta, Madras and Bangalore. In 1990, under the leadership of Rev. Robert (Bob) George he served as minister liaison to Trinity House, an urban ministry serving both homeless men and new immigrants in Far Rockaway, NY.