Church Bio

Simone Monique Barnes was raised by loving parents, whom she calls the “Anti-Church King and Queen,” her agnostic father and her spiritual (formerly all-girls Catholic school raised) mother. To the contrast, her paternal and maternal grandmothers were avid churchgoers, in the Seventh Day Adventist Church and United Methodist Church, respectively; she was christened as a child at her grandmother’s church, Butler Memorial United Methodist Church in the Bronx, NY. This upbringing taught her not to be a “blind sheep” and enabled her to see and hear God in many places both inside and outside of Sunday morning worship services.

During a memorable, private bedtime conversation with God at the age of seven, she fully accepted God into her heart and began to be intentional about their relationship.

Despite being a notorious night owl from infancy, during her adolescence and teenage years she often chose to attend morning worship services at various churches of neighbors, classmates, and extended family members, yielding exposure to diverse faith traditions, and an understanding that there are many windows through which people view the same God.

Eventually, in her early 20s, she joined the historic Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, NY, the church of a friend’s mother who had previously “dragged” her and her friend to 8am service (instead of 11am worship) during their high school years. It was there that she was baptized as an adult under the pastorship of W. Franklyn Richardson, II, and became president its Young Adult Ministry serving the needs of 19 to 40-year-old adults of the large congregation and ran service projects such as food drives, care baskets for incarcerated women, and Coming Out Sunday (an annual worship service and dinner for homebound members of the church).

Later she became a member of Trinity Baptist Church in New York City under the pastorship of Keith Boyd , joined the International Church of the Nazarene in New Bedford, MA under the pastorship of the late Manuel Chavier, Sr, and is currently a member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church under the pastorship of Ray Hammond and Gloria White-Hammond (Boston, MA) where she serves on staff as its Children’s Ministry Director.

Born and raised in New York City, while growing up in Williamsbridge, a Black and Latino community in the Northeast Bronx, Simone participated in New York City’s public school system’s desegregation program of the 1970s, traveling to school in Throggsneck, a mostly Italian Bronx neighborhood, from 1st through 8th grade.

She is a proud vocal music graduate of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts also known as the “Fame” school in New York City, who went on to attend conservatory at the Hartt School of Music.

At the age of 21, she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune and Dysfunction Syndrome (CFS/CFIDS) and Fibromyalgia, a debilitating autoimmune disease that affects the brain and multiple body systems which caused her to temporarily lose her ability to read. After a period of feeling like  Job[ette], she defied what should have been a permanent disability status and went on to complete a beginner’s triathlon and a 60 mile breast cancer walk, run a public relations consulting practice, and earn both a BA (cum laude) in English Literature and Criticism, from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and an EdM in Arts in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

She takes inspiration from Colossians 4:17, which reads, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it” (NKJV) which simply means, “See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.” (NIV)

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