By Journalist Ms. Jones
KINGSTON – One for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Spirit. On Sunday, May 15thPastor Monique K. Newkirk celebrated her Third Pastoral Anniversary of being the pastor of Pentecostal Holy Joy Church of the Lord Inc. better known as PHJC. The celebration was held at The Chateau. Ullanda Burks led the audience in praise and worship. The PHJC Girls Praise Dancers danced. Pastor Monique Walker preached at the event; Newkirk used to serve under her leadership.
“It feels like a blessing that the Lord did… I appreciate just being able to have this opportunity to have an anniversary… Technically this is really the first celebration after I’ve gotten installed. So, it feels like a first, but it’s the third…I’m just grateful to PHJC,” said Newkirk who was installed in June 2019 and her first and second year anniversaries came during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She didn’t let the pandemic stop her from having service. Church was remote at first and the technology was a big adjustment, but they have been physically in the building since Easter 2021. She’s had to overcome other obstacles as well, including the death of a deacon, an aging church building needing repairs, pastoring while working a full-time job, and being the youngest female pastor in the area starting at age 36.
“If I were to pass this microphone around to every pastor, every bishop, every… overseer they would have to tell you that along with all of the accolades… along with all of everything that comes along with pastoring and building ministry, there is pain. Yeah. I don’t care where you go. I don’t care how great you preach. I don’t care how many members you have. I don’t care… how you might feel like you’re on easy street. This thing comes with some pain,” said Walker, who was formerly married to Bishop Hezekiah Walker.
Thankfully, Newkirk has a great congregation who works with her and follows her motto of 100% active involvement.
“I believe in church participation, active membership. So, you have to find something to do, because nobody is just sitting around… So, everybody has to work. They can usher. They might clean. They might sing…They can dance. They can play an instrument… Do something,” said Newkirk who used to drive the church van when she was 16 years old to pick up other young people and drive them to church.
Newkirk has a vision for the church. She has to“ finish the assignment.”
“Let’s finish the work is something that I feel that the Lord gave to me because my grandmother passed. I know she wanted the work to continue… There were other pastors that came after and… did different things.But… it’s something that I feel in my heart, that it’s the physical work of the building… and it’s the spiritual work of the people… The Lord wants us to keep going,” said Newkirk whose grandmother Bessie Emma Williamson Newkirk founded the church.
After Williamson Newkirk passed, her husband took over. Then there were a few other pastors that were in charge until Pastor Dollyann Newkirk became pastor. Pastor Dollyann Newkirk passed the baton to Pastor Monique K. Newkirk, her niece, to be the sixth pastor of PHJC.
“God guided this whole process.It’s preordained…I’m so proud of what she’s doing. She’s doing an awesome job. She’s a great pastor. As you can see, it’s a lot of pressure. But we as children of a ministry and children of pastors, we are accustomed to the pressure of ministry,” said Pastor Dollyann Newkirk who is currently the pastor of Baptist Temple and the first African American female pastor of a major Baptist church in the city of Newburgh. She emceed the celebration.