2020 HonoreesWe are committed to promoting change.
meet our 2020 honorees
Reverend Manoel J. Oliveira
Rev. Manoel J. Oliveira was born in Januaria, Brazil, on January 25, 1970 to Jose Santana and Terezinha Oliveira. He was born home, 2 hours away from the nearest hospital and 4 hours away from the nearest paved road. He was premature (32 weeks) and was baptized on the spot by his grandmother, since everyone thought he was not going to survive. It was common to name the baby boys Manoel or Joseph if they were very ill and thought not to survive. When he was 6 months old the family moved to Brasilia, the new capital, which was 10 years-old only and with a lot of problems: violence, (prostitution). His parents had 8 more children, the last 2 being adopted.
He grew up in a very violent neighborhood and was surrounded by the Liberation Theology mentality. His goal in life was get a good career and a good job. He studied Mathematics at the University of Brasilia where he received his Bachelor and Masters degrees. He taught math at High School for 7 years and taught college for one semester at both the Catholic University of Brasilia and the University of Brasilia.
Fr. Manoel started to take his faith seriously in 1991. Curiosity brought him to some meetings in his parish. He wanted to know why so many of his friends were missing the Saturday night parties. During the first two years he did not go to the meetings faithfully, but he finally fell in love with the Church once he went to his first all-night Easter Vigil.: “I could not believe how happy the brothers and sisters of my community were at the Easter Vigil and during the agape afterwards. That was heaven!”
Two years later he got a scholarship to finish his doctorate in Manchester. England, and was also invited to teach at the University of Brasilia and two High Schools in Brasilia. During that time, he was also planning to get married. But the Lord had some other plans: a holy priest he knew in Brazil died in a car accident and Fr. Manoel attended the funeral: “That funeral mass was a celebration of the resurrection. I experienced there the same joy that I experienced on my first all night Easter Vigil. Few days later I met the rector of the seminary, who had preached in the funeral, and he invited me to join the seminary.”
Fr. Manoel was at the seminary in Brasilia for 3 years before arriving to the seminary in the archdiocese of Newark on October 16, 1998.
He was ordained on May 29, 2004 and have been assigned to the churches of Holy Cross, Harrison, St. Benedict’s and St. Augustine’s in Newark before coming to St. Mary’s in Plainfield in 2014.
“Today I am grateful to the Lord for giving me dignity as person, for saving me from my slavery to sin and money, for giving me my vocation and the possibility to be part of the evangelization. I thank God also for the gift of the Neocatechumenal Way, which has taught me thorough all these years about the faith and the essence of Christianity in the way it is presented in the Sermon of the Mountain.”
Reverend Manoel J. Oliveira
Born in 1947 in Jersey City, NJ, Khalil attended Public Schools 18 and 24. In 1960, his Family relocated to Sussex, New Jersey where he graduated from Sussex High School in 1965. After high school enrolled in Bloomfield College, Bloomfield, New Jersey and graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration. After graduation, he entered an internship program at Bloomfield College where he worked with the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Program while attending New York University in Manhattan in the School of Counselor Education. It was a two year Program which was to lead to a Master’s Degree.
After one year, in 1970 the Government instituted a draft lottery system based on birthdays and he was drafted first round into the Army as the Internship Program was not draft exempt. This was during the Vietnam War and he was ordered to report for duty within two weeks. It was at that time he became engaged to his beautiful girlfriend Sister Miriam. After exploring all options available to avoid being drafted, he chose to enlist in the United States Air Force. In January of 1972 after a tour of duty in Okinawa, while home on leave, he and Sister Miriam were married and remain so today. The remaining two and a half years of military duty were spent at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda Michigan, and it was in 1973 that their daughter Tahira was born. Upon discharge in 1974, they moved to Saginaw, Michigan where they would spend the next eleven years.
Brother Khalil and Sister Miriam were introduced to the Nation of Islam by The Late Khalid and Faaizah Nuriddin, Khalid having been a longtime friend of Khalil’s and Faaizah is the sister of Khalil’s wife, Miriam. Upon discharge from the military, they joined the Nation of Islam after moving to Saginaw, Michigan, becoming fully engaged in all activities of the FOI and MGT. In 1975 came the return to Allah of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and the entering Leadership of Imam W.D. Muhammad, who’s line of leadership they support today. In 1978, their second child Kariem was born and in that same year their family name was changed to Abdul-Aziz. While in Michigan, Brother Khalil undertook the study of the Arabic language with Dr. Abdul Munim Shakir in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, Wayne County Community College. Before relocating back to their home state of New Jersey, Brother Khalil served a one year term as Resident Imam at Masjid Abeedur Rahman in Saginaw.
In 1984 the family moved to Plainfield, New Jersey where they still reside today. They joined Masjidullah and have been members until today where Brother Khalil serves as Assistant to Resident Imam Abdul-Wali Muhammad, whom he admires as a good Imam, Brother and Friend. Brother Khalil is also President of the Majlis Ashurah (Governing Board) and teaches ongoing Arabic Classes at The Masjid.
In January 2014, Khalil Aziz was elected to serve as the Interim Resident Imam of Masjidullah. He continues in that positon currently. During his administration he has guided Masjidullah into a stronger and more secure financial position as well as increase the community outreach. He serves on the New Jersey Council of Imams and the Greater Central Jersey Clergy Association.
Reverend Shawn T. Wallace Sr.
Reverend Shawn T. Wallace, Sr. is a man whose life has been fully committed to serving others. For the past 25 years, he has dedicated his time and energy to educating and empowering people both in church and in the community.
Reverend Wallace owns and operates, STW Consulting LLC., an educational consulting company that provides academic and professional development through innovative lectures, creative seminars and interactive workshop modules. He has over 20 years of professional training and development experience as an educator, lecturer and facilitator with MBS/BCT Partners and has worked with a number of Fortune 500 companies, Non-Profit organizations and academic institutions. He has developed, implemented and designed, a character-building, abstinence-based, mentoring program for young boys in Newark Public Schools entitled, Newark Best Men. He has also developed a life-skills curriculum currently being used with students working on their high school alternative education in the City of Newark, NJ.
As a community leader, Rev. Wallace has worked alongside the American Civil Liberties Union to help fight for rights to equal treatment and fairness for the workers of the NY/NJ Port Authority at Newark Liberty International Airport. He has also worked along with and served as the keynote speaker for Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters (M.O.M.S.A.D.), a community-based organization geared towards helping Mothers and Families of murdered children cope with heartache, grief and loss.
Reverend Wallace formerly held the position of Director of Operations for the largest Class 1 Homeless Shelter in the City of Newark, Urban Renewal Corporation. For nearly 13 years, Reverend Wallace served as the Pastor of the Peoples Missionary Baptist Church in Newark, NJ. While there, he partnered with the State of NJ Martin Luther King Jr. Commission to help develop a summer enrichment program at the church for young children in the community during the Summer. He led the church in a weekly feeding program that now services close to 150 individuals with hot meals every week. He served with the Newark Clergy Affairs and Interfaith Alliance as a faith-based leader, committed to working together to assist in improving the quality of life for the residents of Newark.
Reverend Wallace currently serves as the Pastor of the Historic, St. John’s Baptist Church of Scotch Plains, NJ. In the nearly 2 years that he has served in that capacity, Rev. Wallace has led the church in several capital improvement projects and has committed himself to expanding the services of the church that extend to the surrounding Scotch Plains community. He serves as a member of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Ministerium and was recently appointed to the Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census by the Mayor of Scotch Plains.
Rev. Wallace serves as the Congress of Christian Education President for the General Baptist Convention of New Jersey and is responsible for implementing all Christian Education programs, policies and activities for the constituent Baptist churches throughout the state. He also serves as the 1st Vice Moderator of the Middlesex Central Baptist Association where he assists in providing leadership for local area Baptist churches.
Reverend Wallace has been married to the lovely Carita N. Wallace for over 20 years and is the proud father of one son, Shawn T. Wallace Jr. and one daughter, Tamara Lee-Wallace. He is grateful for all that the Lord has allowed him to accomplish thus far in his life and is looking forward with great anticipation to what God will do next; to God be all of the glory for the great things that He has done and will do!
Reverend Shawn T. Wallace Sr.
Reverend Mae Belin
Reverend Mae Belin, Interim Pastor of Rose of Sharon Community Church (ROSCC), in Plainfield, New Jersey, sat under the tutelage of the Bishop M. Laverne Lattimore Ball for 28 years, before being named as an Interim Pastor in October 2019. Reverend Mae as fondly known by her ROSCC family, has served ROSCC in many capacities over the years such as: Ordained Reverend, Ministerial Assistant to Bishop Ball, Superintendent of Church School, Spiritual Advisor of the ROSCC Deaconess Ministry, Youth Pastor for 7 years, Intercessory Prayer leader and Thursday Noon Day Bible Study Leader. In November 2019, Reverend Belin was elected President of the Greater Central Jersey Clergy Association, a nondenominational faith-based leadership organization, whose mission is to support communities and its families.
Reverend Belin received her early education from the Plainfield Public School system. Called to serve in God’s house she holds a certificate of completion in Old Testament Studies, General Bibles Studies and Evangelism from Evangelical Bible Institute in Newark, NJ., a certificate of completion in Pastoral Theology and Hermeneutics from Metropolitan Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry from Grace Hill Bible College in Jersey City, NJ. Reverend Belin, furthered her education by attending Rutgers and Lincoln University where she received a Master degree in Human Service, allowing her to combine her professional passions of 20 years in healthcare & health administration with preaching and teaching the gospel.
A lifelong resident of Plainfield, Reverend Belin is the mother of one son & daughter in law and has been blessed with one grandson. Her fervent desire is to see all God’s people unconditionally loved, cared for & taught the Word of God.
Reverend Belin loves reading books with entertaining titles, planning & decorating for events and eating out with close friends. One of Reverend Belin’s favorite scriptures is 1John 3:2, “Dear friends, now we Reverend Belin, holds a certificate of completion in Old Testament Studies, General Bibles Studies and Evangelism from Evangelical Bible Institute in Newark, NJ., a certificate of completion in Pastoral Theology and Hermeneutics from Metropolitan Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry from Grace Hill Bible College in Jersey City, NJ.
We are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is”. NIV