Pleasant Grove Church
Pleasant Grove Church
Serving God Through Loving Connections
  • leadership
Each member of the Leadership team is gifted and passionate about the work they do at Pleasant Grove Church. Learn more about them below, or better yet, stop by and introduce yourself. They would love to meet you.


    wooden pallet leader background Classy Preston

    Reverend Dr. Classy Preston
    Senior Pastor

    Classy Preston has been the senior pastor of Pleasant Grove Church since May 1998 and has led the church through a spiritual transformation resulting in tremendous church growth. She is passionate about enabling others to become spiritually mature and disciples of Jesus Christ. Her focus on being a servant of God is evidenced in her extensive involvement in the local community and dedication to worldwide missions. Classy has been married to Deacon Jay Preston since 1977. They strive to be a reflection of Jesus Christ, in all dimensions of their lives.

    wooden pallet leader background Dieuner Joseph

    Reverend Dieuner Joseph
    Associate Pastor

    Dieuner Joseph is a Dynamic Leader, Disciple Maker, Church Planter, Published Author, and Spiritual Counselor. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Manhattan College, he matriculated to Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned a dual Master’s degree in Divinity and Theology. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Ministry degree at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is a skilled Bible Scholar who endeavors to make the Bible relevant to all. Reverend Joseph has been married to Colette Joseph since 1993. He is the proud father of Lysandra K. Joseph and Uriah H. Joseph.

    1. Pastors


    wooden pallet leader background Julie Bell

    Reverend Julie Bell
    Church Parliamentarian

    Reverend Julie Bell is a native North Carolinian. She holds the Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Juris Doctorate degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Law and the Master of Divinity degree from Shaw University. Julie was licensed to preach by Christian Faith Baptist Church in January 1997 and she was ordained by Pleasant Grove Church in December 2005. Julie is an attorney in Raleigh, North Carolina. She practices in the area of civil and criminal litigation. Julie serves as an Associate in Ministry at Pleasant Grove Church. She is the Assistant to the Pastor, serves on the Worship Ministry, Christian Education Ministry, Transportation Ministry, chairs the Finance Ministry, and is the Church Parliamentarian. Julie is the proud mother of Alyssa E. Bell. She considers being a servant of the most high God a privilege and has a passion for helping people.

    wooden pallet leader background Marlin Jones

    Reverend Marlin Jones
    Youth Pastor

    Reverend Marlin Jones has served in student ministry for 15 years. He was licensed to preach in 2011 and has served as youth pastor since 2013. Marlin has over 17 years teaching experience in the Wake County Public School System. His tenure includes East Millbrook Magnet Middle School, Wakefield High School, Holly Springs High School, Panther Creek High School, and currently serving at Broughton High School. He is a graduate from Tennessee State University.

    wooden pallet leader background Paula Smith-Sawyer

    Paula Smith-Sawyer
    Minister of Connections

    Minister Paula Smith Sawyer was born and raised in North Carolina. She is a graduate of North Carolina State University and UNC School of Medicine. She has over 30 years of experience in healthcare. As minister of Connections and former deacon, Paula is passionate about working with God’s people to educate them on health issues, also helping them use their gifts to His glory. She is also passionate about church organizational structure to improve efficiency and insure God’s resources are used most appropriately. Paula and her husband, Raeford, have been disciples of Pleasant Grove since 2007.

    wooden pallet leader background Travis Cooper

    Travis Cooper
    Minister of Music

    Minister Travis Cooper is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is a graduate of North Carolina Central University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education, a Master’s degree in School Administration, an additional Master’s degree in Educational Technology and Instructional Design. He is currently working on a PhD in Education at Northcentral University with a concentration in E-learning. Travis has a heart for music ministry and has served in the area of music ministry for more than 25 years. He is an accomplished pianist, organist, vocalist and brass specialist. He has also served as an educator for North Carolina Public Schools since 1998 and currently serves in the High School division for the Wake County Public School System as a Digital Media Technology Facilitator/Instructor.

    "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."
    2. Ministers


    wooden pallet leader background Jay Preston

    Jay Preston

    Jay Preston was born in Belle Glade, Florida and raised in Sarasota, Florida. He has been married to Classy Preston since 1977. Jay was ordained by Dr. Langton C. Banister as a deacon in Toledo, Ohio in 1988 at Third Baptist Church. After serving as a deacon for 28 years, 18 years of which were at Pleasant Grove Church, he was bestowed the honored title of Deacon Emeritus in October 2015. Jay is passionate about life, good music, good food, and spending time with children. His hobbies include traveling, passive sports, birdwatching, reading, and relaxing. He enjoys time with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandson!

    wooden pallet leader background Ophelia Taylor

    Ophelia Taylor

    Ophelia stepped out on faith and relocated from New York to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1986 with her two children. She was ordained as a deacon at Pleasant Grove Church in 2004. She is the proud grandmother of eight grandchildren. One of her favorite bible verses is Proverbs 3:5-6.

    “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
    wooden pallet leader background James Bacon

    James Bacon

    James and Sherri Bacon have been married since 1978 and joined PGC in 1985. They have two sons and a wonderful daughter-in-law. James Willie attended PGC until 2005 and Anthony is still a disciple at PGC. They worked in the Nursery for over 10 years. James has also served in nearly every ministry at PGC and has participated in a mission trip to Haiti and leads a small group Bible Study in Durham. James is a middle school math teacher with Durham Public Schools and lives in Durham.

    wooden pallet leader background Diana Bing-Lawson

    Diana Bing-Lawson

    Diana has been in Raleigh, North Carolina since 1992 and a member of Pleasant Grove Church since 1998. She was ordained a deacon in September 2007. She retired from IBM where she served in executive roles in sales, organization development, and employee and professional development. She currently is a Children’s Leader in Bible Study Fellowship and is an executive coach. Diana has three children and one granddaughter. Her son Tyler Bing-Lawson is also a member of PGC.

    wooden pallet leader background Colette Joseph

    Colette Joseph

    Colette A. Joseph has been married to Pastor Joseph since 1993. She is a wife, a mother, a business woman and most importantly a child of God. She is a deacon at Pleasant Grove Church and is committed to serving the people of God. She is also a member of the Wake County PTA Council and has been involved with the PTA for over nine years. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11

    "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."
    wooden pallet leader background Donald Dixon

    Donald Dixon

    Don was raised in Nash County, North Carolina and became a Christian in 1978. He was ordained as a deacon in January 2001. He is a graduate of Barton College and Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. Don has over 25 years of experience in finance and operations management and 16 years as a management consultant. He is currently Managing Director for Deloitte & Touche LLP. His interest in organizational strategy, efficiency, risk management, and stewardship of God’s resources led him to serve on the Finance Ministry for the past 18 years. He and his wife, Peggy, have been married since 1971 and are the proud parents of Monica Dixon Perry and grandparents of Avery Victoria Perry.

    wooden pallet leader background Keith Bowler

    Keith Bowler

    Keith Bowler grew up in Lyons, New York the youngest of six children. He moved to North Carolina in 1991 and has been attending PGC since 2001. He was ordained as a deacon at PGC in 2013. Keith is married to his wonderful wife, Ronna Bowler and they have three children, Paloma, Gabriela, and Max. He considers it an honor to serve at PGC as a Men’s Bible Study facilitator as well as a Worship Leader.

    wooden pallet leader background Gino Morant

    Gino Morant

    Eugene "Gino" Morant has been married to Minister Karen Holmes Morant since 1996 and they have been members of PGC since 2007. They have a daughter who is currently a senior at Northern High School. Gino currently works as a data engineer for a local software company. He serves as a deacon, worship leader for morning service, and part of the praise and worship ministry team at PGC. Karen serves as part of the ministry team and conducts a number of workshops for Habitat for Humanity forums. She also serves as facilitator life coach for a women's growth group CVGG. Gino and Karen are dedicated to serving the community, as well as spreading the gospel of Jesus The Christ to all they encounter.

    3. Deacons


    wooden pallet leader background Moonica Dixon Perry

    Monica Dixon Perry
    Marshall Brent Dixon
    Academic Excellence Scholarship Chair

    Monica Dixon Perry was born and raised in North Carolina. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Monica has over 30 years of experience in the veterinary field. She is a partner in the veterinary management consulting firm, VMC, Inc. headquartered in Evergreen, Colorado. Monica is a member of Pleasant Grove’s Finance Ministry and is keeping her late uncle, Marshall Dixon's memory alive by serving as the Scholarship Chair. Monica was baptized when she was seven years old alongside her father, Deacon Don Dixon, at Laodicea United Church Of Christ (now Macedonia New Life Church) in Raleigh. She joined Pleasant Grove in 2001. Monica and her husband, Trustee Dennis Perry, are the proud parents of Avery Perry.

    4. Leaders
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