Once a year, Jearlyn Dennie dresses in worn clothing and walks around Flagler County with only one water bottle in hand.
She is “homeless” for about 10 hours that one day a year. She has watched some people she knows avoid eye contact as they pass by — not recognizing her in the disguise.
She does it to spread awareness and to give to a local family in need. The money she raises from friends who sponsor her to be “homeless” for each hour goes to the family she finds.
It’s just one of the ways she impacts the community.
“I just love people. And if people can be inspired by that, that makes me feel like I’ve accomplished my goal,” Dennie said.
Dennie founded Jearlyn Ministries five years ago after delaying God’s calling on her life for long enough, she said.
“Pastor Jearlyn is not only a very giving and caring person, but a woman of her word, reliable, and truly serves others needs before her own. ... Jearlyn is always one person I can call upon who never says no, will resourcefully come to my rescue and never complains about all the other responsibilities she has waiting.”
- CINDY EVANS, president of the Rotary Club of Flagler County
“I’ll never forget praying and knowing it was time,” Dennie said. “I had run from it for so long that I knew it was the right thing.”
She wears many hats, but it’s all for God’s purpose, she said.
Dennie uses Jearlyn Ministries as the umbrella to different causes she started, including TNT Prayer Line, a way for her to minister to those around the globe 6:30-7:30 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. She can pray with up to 100 people at a time if they call in to 904-701- 7177.
Her energy doesn’t fade, as she gets her strength from God, she said.
“To be a leader, you have to have a servant’s heart,” Dennie said. “What most people don’t know about me is I’m really an introvert. What they don’t see is the Lord in me, guiding me to do that.”
She also hosts a weekly radio show called “Today with Pastor J” Sundays at 8 a.m. on WNZF.
“I think it’s important for people to see that we can talk about politics, we can talk about education, we can talk about what’s going on in the community — and be a Christian,” Dennie said. “And no matter what the negative spin is, put a positive spin on it.”
As the pastor of Reverse Church, which meets three times a month around the community, Dennie said she gets to reach people who don’t attend church, as it’s a church without walls.
“Jesus reversed the curse of sin and death, and people are still living in bondage,” she said about the church’s name.
Not having church walls has allowed her to better reach the community, she said.
She serves Thanksgiving dinners to families in Bunnell every year. She holds a completely free camp called Summer Son all summer that teaches kids about God and provides breakfast and lunch. Her 2019 summer camp will be held at the African American Cultural Society.
“Pastoring is who I am; it’s not a title,” Dennie said.
As a mother of seven children, she takes active roles in their lives, being a Community Problem Solvers coach and School Advisory Council member. She’s also a Rotarian and Kiwanian.
“I like to say that my life is a reflection of his grace and his mercy,” Dennie said. “I knew when I was like 7 yeas old that there was a calling on my life, which I ran from. ... I remember thinking, ‘Oh, when I get older, on my death bed, then I’ll choose Jesus.’ But I remember just as clear as day, I can look back over my life and all the challenges and all the heartaches and everything I’ve gone through — and the things that I’ve caused — I can see him guiding me the whole way.”