During this time of crisis and uncertainty many rely on faith for support and stability. The community is invited to join Deacon Laverne S. Williams, CSW, Union Baptist Church in Montclair, on a free Zoom.us session, entitled “Thankful Tuesdays.” During these sessions, Deacon Williams and her guests will explore important topics centered around faith and spirituality. The program is offered at 2 p.m. every Tuesday: individuals may participate online through Zoom.us, Meeting ID number 424 719 863, Password 469922 or by calling 646-558-8656.

Special for April 28, 2020:  Deacon Williams’ special guest on April 28, 2020 will be Reverend Walter L. Parrish III, D.D., a former Pastor of the Union Baptist Church in Montclair and former chair of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s PEWS Advisory Community. Dr. Parrish is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, where he received the Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Accounting. Upon graduation from college, he worked as a Computer Analyst for Southern Bell Telephone Company in Atlanta, Georgia.  In 1987 he received the Master of Divinity Degree from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City with highest honors. In 1993, Parrish received the Doctor of Divinity degree from the Virginia University in Lynchburg, VA, for his groundbreaking work in providing retirement and health benefits to historically black denominations. Dr. Parrish has lived out a unique calling with more than 30 years of service to both the local church and in executive leadership in denominational bodies. Dr. Parrish currently serves as Pastor of the Northside Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Parrish is a lifetime member of the Morehouse College Alumni Association and a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.  Additionally, Dr. Parrish has served as board member and officer of several community and religious groups. Dr. Parrish is married to Dr. Felicia Y. Thomas and they are the proud parents of two sons, Jonathan Randolph Parrish, and Joseph Thomas Parrish. 

Deacon Williams is the Director of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s PEWS Program (Promoting Emotional Wellness & Spirituality), which educates members of the clergy, lay leaders, and houses of worship to better recognize when persons are experiencing emotional challenges and the signs and symptoms of behavioral health issues, and on how to link members to available resources.

Deacon Williams is a NJ Certified Social Worker, WRAP (Wellness & Recovery Action Plan) Facilitator, a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, and a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. She diligently develops partnerships between faith-based communities and behavioral health institutions. Ms. Williams was quoted in the April 2017 #1 best-selling book, Option B – Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Gant.