Rev. Emma Jordan-Simpson
The Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson (Executive Pastor) is the Executive Director of Fellowship of Reconciliation USA, the nation’s oldest interfaith peace and justice organization exploring the transformative power of nonviolence to resolve human conflict.
She is a graduate of Fisk University (BA Double major -Religious and Philosophical Studies and Music). Through one of the University’s most challenging seasons, she served the Fisk Memorial Chapel as Student Chaplain in the absence of an official Dean of the Chapel. She is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City (MDiv)and earned the Certificate in Not for Profit Management, Executive Level from the Columbia Business School Institute for Not for Profit Management. She earned the Doctor of Ministry Degree (with distinction) from Drew Theological Seminary.
When the Concord Baptist Church of Christ where she serves as Executive Minister ordained herein 1989, she became the second woman in the church’s history to be set apart for the Gospel Ministry. The passions of her life are reflected in some of her writings, which include the foreword to a new book entitled Rizpah’s Children, by Rev. Dr. Marilyn P. Turner-Triplett; and a meditation entitled, “Loving Our Daughters,” for Sister to Sister: A Devotional for African American Women. The prayers for this meditation have now been adapted and published in “Standing in the Need of Prayer: a Celebration of Black Prayer,” by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Coretta Scott King.
She is an authorized facilitator of Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children program, a training that teachings adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Throughout her pastoral ministry, she has used her voice to speak up as an advocate for justice for children. As Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund –New York, she worked with advocates to name and address New York’s cradle to prison pipeline crisis, to close abusive youth prisons and to redirect resources to invest in youth and their communities. As Executive Director of Girls Incorporated of New York City, she led expansion of the first urban Girls Inc. model program, partnering with youth agencies in all five boroughs to expand gender equity training and quality gender specific programming. As Executive Vice President for the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, her team revitalized arts and cultural programming; created after school education, youth leadership and resident leadership programs. Additionally, she has served New York’s nonprofit community as an interim leader for child-serving organizations experiencing leadership crisis.
She is President of American Baptist Churches-Metro NY and serves on the boards of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the Concord ChristFund, and Community Connections for Youth
Rev. Morine Bowen-Avery
The Rev. Morine A. Bowen-Avery (Associate Pastor) is a native of Philadelphia, PA. After graduating from high school Rev. Bowen matriculated at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA where graduated with a major in Psychology and a minor in Theology. She later attended and graduated from the Howard University School of Divinity with a Master of Divinity. Her life’s work has focused on youth and those who live at the fringes of society.
She has an extensive background in training, education, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and strategic planning. Her work with youth populations includes, but is not limited to, teenage mothers, runaways, and male juvenile offenders. She also worked in the District of Columbia Public School system for several years as well as with persons living with HIV/AIDS and those struggling with substance abuse issues before moving to New York. In her profession outside of ministry Rev. Bowen has been an outreach worker, health educator, case manager, trainer and Program Director.
Rev. Bowen-Avery was licensed and ordained at Covenant Baptist Church in Washington, DC. where she served as the Youth Minister for five years as well as worked with the Young Adult Ministry. She moved to New York to embrace her call to full-time ministry. She served for two years as an Associate Pastor at The Concord Baptist Church of Christ through the Pastoral Residency Program. After the Residency Program, Rev. Bowen served for a year at another church as Minister for Social Action and Outreach where she had the opportunity to lead two mission trips to New Orleans to help in the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina. She also served on the Special Commission for the Just Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, which is an initiative of the National Council of Churches. Rev. Bowen-Avery returned to Concord Baptist Church in 2007.
Rev. Bowen-Avery loves the church, and feels ministry is not just confined to the building. She feels her primary calling is to “the least of these,” She has served on Community Board #3 in Bedford Stuyvesant and worked closely with the Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (BLCA)- New York. She is re-invigorated and gains strength for ministry each time she reads II Corinthians 4:1, which states, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not.” She is a contributing writer to the African American Lectionary and is completing her MSW at SUNY Albany.
She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and on is married to Carl P. Avery, Jr. who is a deacon and a trustee at Concord Baptist Church.
Rev. Samuel Phillips III
The Reverend Samuel Phillips, III (Associate Pastor) has a heart for God’s people. He is the Assistant Director of the Concord Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center and leads the congregation’s healing initiatives. Under his leadership, Concord has become more actively involved in creating HIV AIDS Awareness and Education programs and partnering with other community groups to raise awareness and provide community- based confidential testing. He also provides leadership for the congregation’s ministries focused on promoting healthy living and wellness.
Reverend Phillips has a special interest in counseling and is Concord’s lead pastor for pre-marital counseling and the counseling of parents interested in dedicating their children. He facilitates the GriefShare workshop series.
Prior to joining the pastoral team of Concord Church, Reverend Phillips was active in various teaching ministries as an Associate Minister at the Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Brooklyn. In addition to the weekly Bible Study, he taught the New Members Class and the Men’s Bible Study. Reverend Phillips also played a leading role in the founding of Ministry in Action, an outreach program to draw inner-city youth to the church through sports. There, he served as a basketball coach, mentor and spiritual director for the 8-12-year-old Boys Division.
Reverend Phillips is a graduate of SUNY Albany (BA, Sociology); and Drew Theological Seminary (M.Div., Theology and Pastoral Care). Upon graduating from Drew, Reverend Phillips was selected as the 2003 Commencement speaker for the seminary and was the winner of Drew Theological School’s Dorr Diefendorf Award for Excellence in Homiletics. He completed as Master of Social Work degree at Silberman School of Social Work-Hunter College (Clinical Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups) in 2018.
Reverend Phillips is married to Claire Hoyte Phillips and they reside in the great Borough of Brooklyn.
Deacon Zelma Faulk
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Aristotle
Deacon Zelma Faulk (Children’s Pastor) is best known for her desire to education and advocate for children and youth. A teacher at Public School 138 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, she began her tenure as an elementary school teacher in 1983. Deacon Zelma has taught grades 1,4,5, and 6. For the last ten years, she has facilitated English language arts and social studies classes for grades 6 and 7. Prior to teaching at PS 138, Zelma was a pre-school teacher at the Williamsburg Head Start (Marcy Housing Project).
In the Summer of 2005, at the behest of Rev. Emma, Deacon Zelma embarked on her biggest and most enjoyable challenge yet: The Concord Vacation Bible School. It was a truly wonderful learning experience for her. She organized the Concord VBS so that the scholars learned how to be “Jesus Friends” through literacy. Children were exposed to culturally appropriate books with heroes and characters that reflected their lives. In 2008, the Concord VBS grew to include a summer Freedom School. Originally under the auspices of the Children’s Defense Fund, the Concord Freedom School stepped out on its own because it had a cadre of leaders who were equipped to develop and fine tune the curriculum.
Because of Deacon Zelma’s belief in children learning to use the power of their voices for their own interests and to benefit the community, Concord VBS and summer Freedom School has always included opportunities for scholars to engage in advocacy, justice work and community compassion projects. The scholars have advocated for gun control, demonstrated at the New York Stock Exchange to call attention to the gaps in the federal Education Budget, and rallied to ensure children in the state of New York had access to health insurance; and, to live into the vision of being a Jesus Friend to the community, the scholars went throughout the community distributing care bags (first aid items and toiletries) and cold water during the heat wave.
Deacon Zelma – whose voice has never needed a microphone — is committed to empowering children to advocate for themselves and others. It is her goal that all children have safe spaces where they can imagine, explore, play, and then change the world.
Rev. Shakeema North
A native of Newark, New Jersey, Reverend Shakeema North serves as the Youth Pastor of the historic Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, New York under the pastoral leadership of The Reverend Doctor Gary V. Simpson.
“Shak” as she is so affectionately known, is committed to reaching inner city youth from disadvantaged backgrounds and believes that the church can be a quality place where they can come to receive living water. Under her leadership and vision, the youth ministry of Concord Church has grown rapidly – reaching over 100 youth in its weekly youth bible study – and at every turn, youth from every walk of life are empowered to be agents of change and encouraged to strive for greatness in every area of their lives.
Shakeema earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science (cum laude) from North Carolina A&T State University; where she also was a member of the Lady Aggies Women’s Basketball Team. In addition, she holds a Certificate in Internet Technologies from New York University and a Certificate in Christian Ministry from New York Theological Seminary; where she also received the Master of Divinity degree. She is a certified Youth Chaplain under the National Association of Youth Chaplains, Inc. and an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Rev. Michael Ojewale
Michael Ojewale holds a B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria, M.S. in Animal science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and a M.Div. in Biblical studies with additional studies in Biblical Counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary, in Newburgh, Indiana.
He was the Protestant chaplain of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria, before he relocated to the United States in the fall of 1996. He is an ordained clergyman, a New York State certified science teacher (Biology 7-12), and also a board certified clinical chaplain under the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP). He did his four units of clinical pastoral education in two hospitals in Manhattan, NY: Beth-Israel Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, under the auspices of the Healthcare Chaplaincy, Inc. He is an accomplished and published author of a dozen books.
Minister Candace Y. Simpson
Minister Candace Simpson (she/her/hers) is a sister, educator and preacher. She is a graduate of Trinity College and Union Theological Seminary. At Concord, Minister Simpson designs the adult Sunday School lessons. It is her delight to create lessons that include Black liberation, joy and practical applications of the text. She also is a staff developer at the Concord Freedom School, a literacy-based social justice program for children.
Currently, Minister Simpson works with non-profits and churches to design and facilitate Christian anti-oppression lessons and workshops. Minister Simpson serves on the board of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, an organization dedicated to nurturing the Black faith community through education, advocacy and activism.
It is Candace’s philosophy that Heaven is a Revolution that can happen right here on Earth. She is the lead writer and curriculum designer at Fish Sandwich Heaven, an online resource for dreaming a freer world.