Rev. Donavon W. Shoemaker of First Wesleyan Church in Jersey City, New Jersey, now has a street named after him. The “Rev. Donavon W. Shoemaker Way” encompasses one block of Woodlawn Avenue, which is where the church is located in Jersey City.
Rev. Shoemaker and his wife, Viola, have served at First Wesleyan Church for 40 years. The Shoemakers celebrated on June 10 at the Maritime Parc in Liberty State Park, which overlooks the Statue of Liberty and the Lower Manhattan skyline. The Indiana native, who grew up on a farm, began pastoring at the church in 1972, soon after he graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary.
“What a note of influence and the story of Jesus’ light through Don for generations to come,” says General Superintendent Dr. Jo Anne Lyon. Dr. Harry Wood, former district superintendent of Penn-Jersey District, served as keynote speaker as more than 200 church family members, friends, public officials, and pastors joined for the celebration.
Jersey City First Wesleyan Church first began in 1919 and is rich in history. George Beverly Shea, legendary gospel singer and soloist for Billy Graham Crusades, wrote the music and began singing “I’d Rather Have Jesus” while his father pastored the church.