Pastor celebrates 4th year of service

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 8/16/23

Pastor Monique K. Newkirk recently celebrated her fourth year leading the Pentecostal Holy Joy Church of the Lord, located at 431 Freetown Highway in Modena.

Newkirk said it was a difficult …

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Pastor celebrates 4th year of service


Pastor Monique K. Newkirk recently celebrated her fourth year leading the Pentecostal Holy Joy Church of the Lord, located at 431 Freetown Highway in Modena.

Newkirk said it was a difficult first year due to the pandemic.

“During that time, thank God for the technology of zoom, we were still able to connect with the congregation and we were able to get some renovations done on the church roof,” she said.

Despite the challenges, Pastor Newkirk said at that time, “there was still a lot of togetherness and people trying to get to know each other from a different point of view. Sometimes you come to church and you sing, you pray and preach and smile and you don’t get time to really talk to each other. In the past several years, because we built the community on a personal level, people wanted to come back and see each other in person.”

Newkirk said in her first year there were about 20 regular attendees but that has grown to about 40 souls, with many now coming from neighboring communities.

“I feel there are a lot more families that have been coming to the church, and God does what He does for a reason,” she said. “I’m a person that likes to keep it very real, and I think that people like for someone to just be honest and encourage them like a life coach and can meet you on different levels. The kids get a chance to connect with other kids and married couples get a chance to connect with other married couples. Everyone gets a chance to be part of a community in the sense of people being able to be relatable and that is nice.”
Newkirk said on a spiritual level, “people want to know that someone cares, can show them empathy and will take the time to hear what it is that may have going on and can pray with you.”

Newkirk said they are very supportive of the youth in her church, especially the church’s Dance Ministry.

“We try to reach out to the community in different ways; we give food to the local elementary school’s backpack program throughout the year and we also make sure that at Thanksgiving we give food to people in need,” she said.

Newkirk said it is rewarding to know that you’re helping someone.

“For me, it feels really good to know that someone is encouraged by something that you have offered or given to them, whether it be prayer, whether it be an encouraging word, a hug or whether it be just listening,” she said. “I just like to know that I’m making a difference.”

Newkirk said this sense of giving and caring for others has been a part of her life since she was a young girl.

“I’ve always been someone who had a sense of bringing people together,” she said, recalling that prom night for her high school graduation, “I made sure that I got every nationality and every walk of life in our class together, whether you’re this type of group or that type of group, but I built a sense of community to let us know that everybody can connect.” She said the resulting prom night was a great success.

Newkirk said church has been an essential part of her life and becoming a Pastor has, “always been something that’s in me, something that was always going to happen, whether it was here or anywhere else, it was just something that was meant to be. I’ve always been that person that loves to help and serve. You can’t be a leader unless you follow and I love to learn, I like to follow but I’ve always been someone who has been a leader.”

Newkirk describes Pentecostal as charismatic and evangelistic.

“In the Bible there is the Book of Acts; Jesus died on the cross and He left and said I am going to send you a comforter, which is the Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts talks about when the Holy Spirit descended upon the people that they spoke in unknown tongues and is a gift of the Spirit,” she said, acknowledging that some may not understand this, “but we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit and we also believe in singing and clapping our hands and getting more into it.”

Newkirk said the ministry was founded in June of 1960 by her late paternal grandparents, Bishop/Overseer Besse Emma Williamson-Newkirk and her husband Elder Willie Lee Franklin Newkirk.

“They definitely set the tone and my grandfather built the original and the current church,” she said. “They came from North Carolina at a time when they would not be welcomed and my grandfather, who was a Vet, actually worked for West Point. They had to work hard for what they got but they did it.”

Newkirk said her mother’s parents are from Jamaica; her grandfather is now 90 and her grandmother is 91, “and they are church-going people as well.”

Newkirk is the sixth Pastor of the Pentecostal Holy Joy Church of the Lord, “and I am going to stay on my Kingdom assignment for as long as God would have me there; that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Sunday School will start up again in September at 9:30 a.m., followed by regular morning worship at 11:15 a.m.

For more information call 845-883-6910.