Pastoral Leadership

The Reverend Phyllis Thompson Hilliard – Pastor to Women

pastor_phyllisLicensed to preach in 1991 by her husband of 31 years, Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr., Senior Pastor of Cathedral International in Perth Amboy, NJ, The Reverend Phyllis Hilliard is a Christian woman determined to accomplish extraordinary things for God.

Rev. Hilliard has served as Director of the Cathedral Women’s Ministry, hosting retreats, conferences, programs, and Bible Studies geared towards enriching the lives of the women in her church and those abroad. On October 27, 2006, Pastor Hilliard was officially ordained as a pastor at her home church.

Passionate in her quest to reach, teach, and mentor young ladies, Rev. Hilliard initiated a Female Rites of Passage program for the young sisters of her church in 1994. After 18 years, the Nailah Ministry is still going strong and is growing.

In addition to preaching and teaching at diverse women’s events for churches in the tri-state area, Reverend Hilliard has had the privilege of preaching in Ghana, West Africa several years ago.

The author of three books, “What Does A Pastor Do?,” “Manhood Boot Camp,” and “The Voice of the Mrs.”.  Rev. Hilliard is preparing to publish her fourth book–“Daddy:  In Absentia,” in 2012. She is also featured—along with 30-plus women – in the 5th volume of “Those Preaching Women,” a collection of sermons by women from various denominations and ethnicities, published in 2008 by Judson Press.

She serves as director of Winsome Ministries, Inc., a non-profit entity she founded in 2002 that presents a variety of public forums aimed towards holistically empowering women and young people. Under this banner, she has also launched a human-interest television program entitled, “Morning Dew,” which airs on [local access] Comcast stations.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, Rev. Hilliard regards being mother to her three adult daughters – Leah, Charisma, and Destiny – as her greatest accomplishment.

To contact Rev. Hilliard log on to or email

The Reverend Henry Rodgers, Sr. – Assistant Pastor

pastor_rodgersHas served in ministry at the Second Baptist Church and Cathedral International of Perth Amboy, New Jersey for over thirty years in the   areas of Evangelism, Prison Ministry. Discipleship, and Marriage and Family as a lecturer, facilitator of seminars, retreats and other activities relevant to the family. Ordained a Deacon by the late Reverend Herbert Mack Martin at the historical Broad Street Second Baptist Church. Under the tutelage of Bishop Donald Hilliard Jr., Senior Pastor of Cathedral International, he was licensed to preach the gospel, ordained by the Progressive Baptist Association, and appointed Elder. Currently he serves as an Elder and Associate Pastor of Marriage and Family. His academia profile includes certificates of Theology from the former Northeastern Bible College of Essex Fells, New Jersey currently known as Kings College of New York: Pastoral Counseling from Zarephath Bible College and a myriad of vital experience at the Cathedral International. He is known wherever he goes as the unequivocal voice for Christ with compassion for humanity, mentor for boys, young adults, married couples, and a community collaborate as a member of the Perth Amboy Clergy Association, liaison between the Church and City, Fraternal Order of Police and subscribing Life member of the NAACP.

He is married to the former Pinkie M. Jackson of Louisiana, a co-laborer in ministry. He attests their greatest accomplishment as parenting their two adult children, Henry III and Karen Joy. They are doting grandparents of Summer Joy, Zaniyah Joy, Zander, and Evan, blessed in-laws of Zelva and Nitzaliz, and celebrants of 43 years of Holy Matrimony.

To contact Pastor Rodgers call 732-826-5293

The Reverend William J. Barlow – Assistant Pastor – Visitation

pastor_barlowWilliam James Barlow Sr. has been a member here at the historic, Second Baptist Church The Cathedral International since 1962.

He has served with various ministries throughout the years: Senior Choir, Trustee Ministry, Marriage Ministry, Men’s Ministry Diaconate Ministry, CCDC, and the Cathedral Academy. William serve as Elder with The Diaconate Ministry, The Sick and Shut In Ministry and The Intercessory Prayer Ministry

William was ordained by the late Pastor H. Mack Martin as a deacon Aug. 4 1980. He was ordained by Bishop D. Hilliard in to Christian Ministry July 7, 1996

William, graduated from Data Process Institute of New Jersey, and is employed with Siemens Medical. He attended Eastern Bible College of Carlstadt NJ, Middlesex County  College and he received a certificate in Bible Study from Eastern Bible College of Newark NJ.

William and his wife Minister Ida are proud parents of three and grandparents of eight. Sandra(Kofi) – Anya, Kwame, James and Anisa Doonquah. William Jr.(Melonise) – Leah, William III and Isaiah.  Rodney(Va’Lencia) – Victoria Barlow

To contact Pastor Barlow call 732-826-5293

Pastor Abraham Alston, Jr. – Pastor of Strategic Development and Fiscal Affairs

pastor_alstonElder Abraham Alston has faithfully served Cathedral International for over twenty years as Trustee, Business Administrator, and Financial Consultant.  As an Elder at Cathedral International (The Historic Second Baptist Church) Elder Alston has provided great leadership and support to the overall mission and vision of the church.  In addition to the many hats he has worn at Cathedral International, Elder Alston has served as guest lecturer on Church Administration at New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, NJ.

In 1993 through vision and ingenuity, Abraham Alston, Jr. founded Alston & Company CPA’s (formerly known as Alston & Perry CPA’s), an African-American owned, Christ-centered, full-service accounting firm. Mr. Alston has directed and positioned Alston & Company to specialize in meeting the financial administration and tax needs of churches and other non-profit organizations, to develop a niche for serving small businesses, and to have a heart for individuals.

Abraham Alston, Jr., a licensed certified public accountant in the states of New York and New Jersey, has extensive knowledge and vast experience in accounting, auditing, and tax-related services. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from Hofstra University, NY in May 1982, and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from New York University in September 1993. Abraham Alston, Jr. has over 18 years of expertise specializing in a wide array of financial and tax-related services.

Abraham Alston, Jr. is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the State Society of CPAs in New York and New Jersey. His work experience includes various levels of management in the accounting/auditing departments of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the New York City Comptroller’s Office, and National Westminster Bank. His public accounting experience was obtained at Mitchell & Titus and Company CPAs which is the largest African-American owned accounting firm in the nation. For government agencies, HUD, and non-profit entities, Abraham Alston has supervised many audit engagements. He has provided his accounting and computer expertise on analyzing internal controls and computer systems.

To contact Pastor Alston email:

The Reverend Dr. Michael Wilkerson Leach – Chief Operating Officer and Pastor of Administration & Ministerial Life

The Reverend Dr. Michael Wilkerson Leach gave her life to the Lord at an early age. A native of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, Rev. Dr. Leach was ordained in 2006 and licensed into Gospel ministry by Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr., Senior Pastor of Cathedral International, (The Historic Second Baptist Church of Perth Amboy, New Jersey).

Having served in various leadership capacities, Rev. Dr. Leach has a wealth of Executive and Ministerial Leadership experience. She currently serves as Chief Operating Officer, and Pastor of Administration and Ministerial Life at Cathedral International. In addition, she is a Radio Personality on Star 99.1FM (New York) and Star 93.3 (Ohio) as the Host of STAR CARES, where she addresses public affairs issues that impact the lives of individuals and communities.

Rev. Dr. Leach also serves as Treasurer of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey – Raritan Association, a Police and Fire Chaplain, a Licensed Real Estate Agent, an Entrepreneur, and is an Advisory Board Member of Infinity Financial Ministries; a faith-based organization with a team of veteran professionals dedicated to training Church leaders in the areas of Clergy Compensation, Management, Church Governance, and Board Responsibilities. She has also served as Adjunct Faculty at Pillar College.

Committed to education, Rev. Dr. Leach has earned Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey; and a Master of Divinity degree from New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey where she graduated with honors and was granted an award for demonstrating excellence in preaching. She also earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, where she graduated with distinction and honors and was granted an award for excellence in scholarship.

Rev. Dr. Leach is married to Minister William Leach and together, they have been blessed with two beautiful children.

A fervent worshiper, Rev. Dr. Leach loves the Lord and the Lord’s people. She counts it an honor and privilege to be called by God to serve in the Kingdom for such a time as this.

Contact Pastor Leach: or call 732-826-5293

The Reverend Dr. Deniece Reid – Lead Pastor Cathedral International Asbury Park / Director of Cathedral Community Counseling Center

pastor_reidThe Reverend Deniece Reid is a native of Westfield, New Jersey.  She attended the Westfield public school system and is a graduate of Westfield High School.    

She has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Upsala College; a Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University; a Masters of Arts in Theological Studies degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary; and a Doctorate of Ministry Degree from Drew University as a Hilliard Fellow.  She is also an adjunct professor at Drew University and Somerset Christian College, a certified Addictions Counselor, an Associate of the Family Therapy Institute of New Jersey and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Dr. Reid presently serves as a staff pastor at Cathedral International in Perth Amboy New Jersey where Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr. is the senior pastor, and executive Director of the Cathedral Community Counseling Center. Reverend Reid was licensed to preach the Gospel in 1985 at Bethel Baptist Church in Westfield, New Jersey.  She was ordained in the Christian Ministry in 1996 at Cathedral International.  She also served as Assistant pastor of New Hope Church/Training Center at Rutgers University.

Since 1973, Dr. Reid has been employed by various social service/mental health agencies and educational institutions in New Jersey.  She has had vast experiences working with youth, families, communities in the capacities of Youth Ministry Coordinator, Individual/Family Clinician, Substance Abuse Clinical Coordinator and Clinician, Community systems Coordinator and Professional Consultant.  She has also conducted numerous seminars/workshops for organizations, ministries and churches on various topics and issues such as marriage and family, parenting, additions, grief, cultural sensitivity, lay counseling and leadership program development from a Clinical/Biblical perspective.

She is the recipient of various awards for her church and professional services, including Outstanding Young Woman of America – 1976 and the National Cultural and Economic Diversity Award from the American Family Therapy Academy – 1997.  Reverend Reid is a contributing author of a chapter entitled “Addictions, African-Americans and The Christian Journey” in the book Bridges to Recovery released in March 2000.

The Reverend Dr. Deniece Reid gives God All the Glory for her life experiences and accomplishments.  Jesus Christ is her Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit is her teacher of all truth.

“When I think of the goodness of Jesus and all He has done for me, my very soul cries out Hallelujah! I thank God for saving me.”

To contact Rev. Dr. Reid email: or call 732-826-5293

The Reverend Kevin Smallwood – Campus Pastor Cathedral International Plainfield

pastor_smallwoodA native of Newark, New Jersey, The Reverend Kevin Smallwood serves as Campus Pastor to Cathedral International Plainfield.  Married for over 25 years, he and his wife Susan are the proud parents to two children.  

Pastor Smallwood has been saved and delivered from drugs and alcohol for over twenty years and has a relevant ministry and message to those whose lives have been ravaged by addictive behaviors.

After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree, he successfully ignited two thriving businesses.  God has truly blessed this faithful man of God with an entrepreneurial spirit.  Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr., Senior Pastor of Cathedral International has been a defining influence and source of encouragement, casting vision and pouring into Pastor Smallwood.  

To contact Pastor Smallwood email:

The Reverend Esteban Santana III – Pastor of Iglesia Catedral

pastor_santanaCurrently serves as the Pastor of the Iglesia Catedral, the Spanish Congregation of Cathedral International in Perth Amboy, New Jersey where Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr. is the Senior Pastor.  He is the husband of Marisol Santana and the proud father of three children: Esteban IV, Priscilla and Lucas.  

The Ministry of Iglesia Catedral consists of a weekly worship service at 11:00am, free Multilevel English Classes for the Latino community during the year, weekly Spanish Bible Studies, and immigration resources for Latino community.  For over twenty years, Pastor Santana has worked full-time in healthcare at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, NJ Med, PC in the Managed Care Division.  He is a graduate of Rutgers University, Livingston College, Piscataway, NJ with a BA in Psychology and minor: Religion.  He is also a graduate of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, NJ where he earned the Master of Divinity degree Summa Cum Laude in May of 2007.  While at NBTS, Minister Santana was awarded the THE ROBERT HATCHER PRIZE, which is awarded to the student who excels in Christian Education.  In 2003 received the Hageman Scholar Award. The Hageman Scholar awards honor the late Reverend Doctor Howard G. Hageman, President of New Brunswick Theological Seminary from 1973 until 1985, and his wife, Carol Hageman. Hageman Scholars receive a renewable grant of tuition remission to study full-time at the Seminary.  In Spring 2005 awarded The George Augustus Sandham Scholarship for Junior Year class standing.  He also completed two units of Supervised Ministry at Hope Community Church in Bergenfield, NJ.  This is a Korean Presbyterian congregation, where he served as Director of Christian Education for Children for the summer.  Responsibilities included preaching the children’s sermon and running the Sunday school, as well as providing Children’s Saturday fellowship twice a month during the summer.  Pastor Santana also completed three more units of Supervised Ministry at Cathedral International.  Two units were done at Cathedral Assembly in the Fields in Plainfield, NJ surveying the Latino community and developing and executing a successful Basic English Conversational Course in partnership with the YMCA.  The other unit of Supervised Ministry was done at the Cathedral Community Counseling Center in Perth Amboy, NJ under The Reverend Dr. Deniece Reid.

Pastor Santana loves all contacts sports and finds great joy in serving as a soccer and baseball coach.

Pastor Santana’s passion in ministry is to serve the ‘undocumented’ community.  One of the mandates to the people of Israel as found in Deuteronomy 10: 17-19 (KJV) is: 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: 18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. 19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

To contact Pastor Santana call: 732-424-9684 (after 5pm) or e-mail:

The Reverend Amir M. Ballard, Sr. 

Rev. Amir M. Ballard, Sr., is the only son of the Late George and the Late Beverly L. Ballard. He was born and raised in the Newark and Irvington area. After graduating from Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, Rev. Ballard went on to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Following Morehouse, Rev. Ballard completed his Master’s of Divinity Degree at the Theological School at Drew University. Rev. Ballard currently teaches History at North Star Academy College Prep High School in Newark NJ.

Rev. Ballard has served as Senior Pastor at 5 AME congregations throughout NJ for over 11 years. In 2011, Rev. Ballard joined the ministry of Bishop Donald Hilliard at Cathedral International, the Historical 2nd Baptist Church of Perth Amboy, NJ. Bishop Hilliard assigned Rev. Ballard to serve as the Campus Pastor at Cathedral International’s Plainfield location in 2012. In 2016, Rev. Ballard was asked to join the pastoral team at Cathedral International’s Shore Church in Asbury Park where he currently serves.

Rev. Ballard has distinguished himself as “workman who needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Rev. Ballard continues to seek first the Kingdom of God, knowing that all things work together for the good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. Together with his lovely wife of 24 years, Tonya, and their beautiful children (AJ – 2018 graduate of Brown University; Gabrielle – 2019 graduate of MIT and Christian 12th grade), Rev. Ballard hopes to bring Glory to God and to bless His people.

To contact Pastor Ballard email:

The Reverend Vivian Thomas McClain

The Reverend Vivian Thomas McClain is a graduate of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Masters of Accountancy Degree.  Rev. Thomas McClain was licensed to preach on October 17, 2008 by Cathedral International; was ordained by the Covenant Ecumenical Fellowship and Cathedral Assemblies and appointed to Pastor at Cathedral International Plainfield Campus on October 6, 2013 by Bishop Donald Hilliard.

Reverend Thomas McClain graduated from New Brunswick Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity Degree in May 2014 and was ordained by the American Baptist Churches.  The ABC ordination occured on June 24, 2016.

The Reverend Thomas McClain has served in ministry at The Cathedral International for over fifteen years and is the mother of a young adult daughter.

To contact Pastor Thomas McClain email:

Pastor Catherine Griggs – Social Justice / Staff Pastor

Pastor Griggs is a prophetic preacher, published author, and rising leader who is passionate about fighting against racial injustice, police brutality and economic disparities. Having marched with Dr. Sharpton and NAN in response to the killing of Eric Garner, and protested with national justice advocates Jim Wallis, Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner and other clergy leaders against the current administration’s 2017 tax bill, Pastor Griggs believes in tying her spirituality and social responsibility together. Pastor Griggs received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Drew Theological Seminary.

Reverend Catherine published her first book entitled, A Diamond in the Rough, in November 2014, and presently serves as the Senior Executive Assistant to Bishop Donald Hilliard Jr., at Cathedral International Church in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where she also serves as a Staff Pastor. Catherine’s greatest role to date is that of mother to her two adult sons John and Malcolm, wife to husband John, and Glam Ma to her grandchildren.

To contact Pastor Catherine Griggs email:

The Reverend Larry D. McCullum, Sr.

The Reverend Larry D. McCullum, Sr. is a native of Leland, Mississippi and is a graduate of Leland High School where he graduated in the top 10% of his class and was a member of the National Honor Society and Vice President of the Student Council.  After graduating from high school, Larry attended Delta State University in Cleveland, MS where he was a member of the Student Senate, the Track and Field Team and Chapter President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  While at Delta State University, Larry was named to Who’s Who Among Colleges and Universities.  After graduating from Delta State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry, Larry attended Pharmacy School at the distinguished Historically Black College and University known as “The Mecca” – Howard University, where he graduated in 1991.  After practicing as healthcare professional for over 15 years, Larry accepted the “Call” of God on his life and attended Drew Theological Seminary, Madison, NJ where he obtained his Master of Divinity Degree. While at Drew, Larry was honored with a Drew Theological Scholarship, the Mallalieu Scholarship and the Myers Scholarship for Excellence in Preaching.  After obtaining his Master of Divinity Degree, Larry immediately enrolled in the Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy – Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia where he graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree.

Reverend McCullum was licensed into the Gospel Ministry, ordained as an Elder and Pastor in the Lord’s Church by Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr.  Larry currently serves as a Staff Pastor and Elder at the Cathedral International, Perth Amboy, NJ and works in Corporate America where he is currently an Associate Director, Medical Information Services.  In addition to his ministry at the Cathedral and position in Corporate America, Larry is an author, publishing his first book entitled “The Plight of the African American Male – An Informative Guide to Healing and Restoration in 2009.

He is married to the Honorable Dr. Chanelle C. McCullum, Council-woman, Piscataway, NJ and is the father of three children (Cymora, Alexis and Larry, Jr.).

To contact Pastor Larry McCullum, Sr. call 732-826-5293.