Jersey City First Wesleyan Church
201 Woodlawn Avenue, PO Box 15596
Jersey City, NJ 07305-0596
Lead Pastor – Pastor Donavon Shoemaker has
served at FWC since June 1972. A native of
Indiana by birth, he is a graduate of Asbury
Theological Seminary. He is married to Viola (Vi)
Mayhle who moved to Jersey City as a teen from
Western Pennsylvania and accepted Jesus as her
Savior and Lord right here at FWC. Upon high
school graduation she enrolled at Marion College
(Indiana Wesleyan University) where she met
Donavon who was a ministerial student. They
married in 1969. Vi taught first grade in the
Jersey City Public Schools until retiring in 2012.
They have three sons, eleven grandchildren and
one great-grandchild. Email:
Pastor of Community Outreach Ministries,
Preaching, Teaching – Rev. Phyllis Isaac came
to FWC more than twenty years ago. She is a
life-long Jersey City native. She was ordained
in June, 2022. She has a son, Micah.
Lay Minister John Robinson -- Minister John
co-directs our Youth Ministry and preaches.
He is a scientist working in the
pharmaceutical field as well as an
entrepreneur. He is married to Julia Ewart
Robinson and they have two children,
Jonathan and Janelle.
Lay Minister Troy Gibson, Sr. -- Preaching,
Worship Leader. Min. Troy began attending
FWC as a young man. He is married to Cynthia
Green Gibson and they have four children,
Troy, Jr., Kristina, Aaron, and Adam along with
two grandsons, Troy III and Cairo. He works at
21 Century Fox in NYC.
Maureen Kamaishah is a lay
preacher/teacher, along with prophetic
gifting. Maureen came to the U.S. as a young
adult from Kenya and began attending FWC
while living around the corner from the
church. She is married to Moses Mirui and
has a daughter, Nelly.
Lay Minister Rachel Guthman -- Worship
Leader, along with prophetic gifting. Min.
Rachel has been at FWC her entire life. She is
a music instructor in the Jersey City Public
Pastor of Discipleship Ministries and
Preaching – Rev. Melissa Everett has been a
part of FWC all her life. She sensed her
calling to ministry after graduation from
Rutgers University and pursued ministerial
studies at Wesley Seminary, graduating in
2015. She was ordained in 2020. She teaches
at the Michelle Obama School in Newark, NJ.
She is married to Carl Everett and has one
Lay Minister Gracie Cooper -- Lay Minister --
Sick, Shut-ins, Community Outreach,
Evangelism, and Helps. She oversees our
Saturday food distribution and the soup
kitchen as well as reaches out to the sick,
shut-ins, seniors, and missing in action. She
is mother of two daughters, Tamika and
Triese, and four grandchildren, Davon,
Maurice, Nirea, and Jordan.