Our Pastoral Leadership
The Revs. David B. & Valerie E. Cousin
The Revs. David B. & Valerie E. Cousin
The product of a long line of pastors, Reverend David Byron Cousin, Sr. was born in Norfolk, Virginia to Bishop Philip Robert and Mrs. Margaret Joan Cousin. Rev. Cousin received his formative education in Durham, NC, and relocated to Birmingham, AL in 1976 after his father was elected to the episcopacy of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Upon graduation, Rev. Cousin entered Alabama State University where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English. On May 13, 1984, Rev. Cousin received his Master of Divinity degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from Boston University School of Theology.
While in seminary Rev. Cousin was appointed by Bishop Richard Allen Hildebrand as supply pastor to Mt. Pisgah AME Church in Salem, NJ. At the 1984 New Jersey Annual Conference, Bishop Hildebrand appointed Rev. Cousin as pastor of the church. In 1986, Bishop Frank Curtis Cummings appointed Reverend David pastor of Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church, Princeton, NJ and in 1991 to St. Paul A.M.E. Church, East Orange, NJ. In 1995, Bishop Philip Robert Cousin, Sr. appointed Reverend Cousin to Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Harlem, NY and in 1997 to Bridge Street A.M.E. Church, Brooklyn, NY.
The well-being and health of the community has always been a priority for Reverend Cousin. In Princeton, NJ, he was frequently relied upon by the late Mayor Barbara Boggs Sigmund to assist with implementing initiatives that brought residents of the community together toward a common cause. During his tenure at St. Paul in East Orange, Rev. Cousin worked closely with then Mayor Cardell Cooper on issues confronting the city. He also organized a computer center in the church to teach and upgrade public school teachers’ computer skills to bring them in compliance with new teaching guidelines that had been implemented by the school district. The funding for this initiative was secured from local businesses including but not limited to Woody Funeral Home and Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
While pastoring in Harlem, Reverend Cousin frequently met with members of community block associations to discuss and organize the delivery of services to residents. A partnership was established between Emanuel A.M.E. Church, the West 119th Street Block Association and Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families to clean up community blocks. Reverend Cousin established monthly “Family Night” dinners/community meetings with the West 119th Street Block Association. In addition, many of the male youth living in the block gave their lives to Christ and joined Emanuel. As a result, weekly Bible Study/Rap Sessions were established to address issues of concern to youth.
Reverend Cousin is proud to be married to his college sweetheart, Reverend Valerie Eugenia Kendrick of Anniston, Alabama. They are the proud parents of two wonderful boys: David, Jr. and Matthew Joseph; and two beautiful granddaughters; Jael Marcianna and Melody Joan Cousin.
Affectionately called “Rev. Val”, Valerie Eugenia Kendrick-Cousin is a native of Chicago, Illinois but spent the formative years of her life in Anniston, Alabama, where she attended middle and high school. Upon graduation, Rev. Valerie entered Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.
Rev. Valerie returned to school in 1993 to earn her Master of Public Administration degree in Nonprofit Management from Seton Hall University. In 1999, she earned a Certificate in Fundraising and Development from Marymount College; and in 2009, Rev. Valerie received her Master of Divinity degree in Preaching and Worship from Columbia University/Union Theological Seminary.
Upon graduation from seminary Rev. Valerie was appointed as Executive Minister at Bridge Street. In this capacity she is responsible for executive level administration including but not limited to oversight of administrative staff, development of policies and procedures governing the stewardess board, class leaders, weddings, funerals, baptisms and the intake of new members. She is also responsible for oversight of the church’s calendar, annual election of officers, quarterly conference reports, social media and website updates and liturgy and worship.
Rev. Valerie has been successful in receiving funding for three worship grants through the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, two pastoral study grants through the Louisville Institute and one congregational grant through the Fund for Theological Education; all of which facilitated the spiritual growth and development of the kingdom.
Prior her appointment as Executive Minister, for over twenty years, Rev. Valerie served in various capacities in higher education administration as a senior level business officer at one university in New Jersey and three colleges in New York. She is a Silver-Star member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and is a past member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Westchester Chapter, where she served two terms as chaplain. She currently serves as secretary to the board of directors of Bridge Street Development Corporation. In her spare time, Rev. Valerie enjoys reading, writing, journaling, and spending quiet time with God.
Married to her college sweetheart for nearly forty years, they are the proud parents of two sons: David Byron, Jr. and Matthew Joseph; and grandparents to two lovely granddaughters, Jael Marcianna and Melody Joan Cousin.