ABOUT THE MINISTERS
Pastor Vernis Wright
I am a native of Raleigh, North Carolina; I'm the seventh of eight children born to the late Thomas and Elsie Wright born on July 4, 1955. I continue to reside in Raleigh. I'm married to the former Patricia Pearce and we have three sons, C'Darris, Stacey and Ty and one daughter, Aniya. I attended elementary and junior high school in Garner, North Carolina. I Graduated from Sanderson High School in Raleigh in 1973. I attended Saint Augustine College for one year. I Graduated from the Raleigh School of Data Processing in 1977. I received my certificates in Data Processing and IT Networking. I attended The Shaw University Divinity School. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Ministry from Carolina Christian College. I'm currently retired from the North Carolina Department of Justice with 32 years of service. I am a member of the Eastern Ministries Alliance (EMA) and were I am currently the President. Religious Background: Born and raised a disciple of Merry Grove Baptist Missionary Baptist Church, Zebulon, North Carolina. I became a Christian at the age of 12. As a young adult, I failed God in more ways than I care to mention, but I can truly say that he has never failed me. It was in 1985 that he convicted me and drew me back into the fold. I re-dedicated my life to him and have continued to serve him. I was called in the gospel ministry on Thanksgiving Day of 2002. I was licensed to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ on March 31, 2003. I was ordained as a minister on April 24, 2005 and installed as Pastor of Merry Grove Missionary Baptist Church on July 9 2005 where I still serve as the Pastor.
Rev. Larry Neal
Larry M. Neal II was born in Raleigh, NC and raised in Wendell, NC. At the young age of 12, he joined Wendell First Baptist Church and began serving the Lord as the very first church drummer. After graduating from East Wake High School in 2009, he became the
high school marching band's drumline instructor and remained in the position for a few years. As a young adult, he joined Merry Grove Missionary Baptist Church of Zebulon, NC where he continued to take part in the Music Ministry. In 2015, he accepted the call
to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Before becoming a licensed minister, he preached his initial sermon entitled "Where is Your Faith?" Currently, he is an Associate Minister under the leadership of Rev. Vernis Wright. Since accepting the call, he has studied
the Word diligently as well as surrounded himself with other spirit-filled young soldiers for the Lord. He is currently studying Religion at Luther Rice College & Seminary. He has been married to his beautiful wife Cherrell since 2016 and they have one child
(a Black lab named Vince) together. Most importantly, he is a young man on fire for the Lord. He is excited about sharing the Word of the Lord wherever he goes and serving Him for the rest of his life in whatever capacity God requires of Him. One of Minister
Neal's favorite scriptures is John 8:12 "I am the Light of the World. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the Light of Life."
Min. Victoria Hodge
Victoria Hodge was on born July 31, 1989. She was raised in Wendell N.C. Victoria graduated from East Wake High School of Health Science. Victoria attended the Arts Institute of Charlotte North Carolina where she studied Culinary Arts. She is the co-owner of a catering business (Hodge Catering) with her mother. Victoria was called into ministry at an early age. She accepted the call of Minister at New Beginning Family Worship Center under the leadership of Overseer E.J. Riddick. She has served in many auxiliaries such as Pastors Aid, Armour Bearer, and Praise and Worship leader. Victoria is currently an associate minister at Merry Grove Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend Vernis Wright. She has a heart for preaching and teaching God's word. In the Word of God I have truly found a hiding place.
Min. Doretha Thomas
Minister Doretha W. Thomas was born May 18th. She is a native of Wake County. She graduated from the East Wake High School. She is the oldest of 6 siblings and the mother of one son, Troymetris Wright.
Minister Thomas has overcome and achieved many obstacles in her life. When folk, friends and family said that she wouldn't or couldn't, Minister Thomas quoted the verse in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and because she believed and stood on God's word, in 2006, Minister Thomas went back to school and obtained her Associates degree in Medical Administration from Wake Technical Community College. Her faith in God didn't stop there because she is a 3 year breast cancer survivor, who is determined to live her best life in Christ.
Minister Thomas accepted her call to the ministry in 2013 and preached her initial sermon at the Merry Grove Baptist Church on August 11 of the same year. Minister Thomas has served as a Sunday school teacher and she now serves on the ministerial staff at the Merry Grove Baptist Church, under the leadership of her Pastor Vernis Wright.
Minister Thomas is passionate about helping, caring for and serving people. She realizes the importance of being a servant of the Lord and she lives what she preaches. One of her favorite songs is "Somebody Prayed for Me" and because somebody prayed for her, she now has an "IRREVOCABLE PRAISE" Minister Thomas has experienced some struggles in her life and through those situations, she is passionate about healing and deliverance.
Minister Thomas married William Ray Thomas on October 13, 2018 and they are enjoying their married life together.
Minister Thomas is truly a Holy Ghost Filled and Fire Baptized Worshipper of God!
Rev. Dana Harris
Dana K Harris was born in Norfolk, VA. She was educated in Norfolk County, Virginia. She is married to Anthony Terry and parents of three, grandparents of six and great-grandparents of one. She has continued her education by completion of an associate degree in Biblical Studies from Harvest Word. She is attending Biblical continuing education classes at Christ Anointed Church.
She came to Merry Grove as a seeker of God and she has been rewarded. Her calling into the Preaching Ministry was in September 2013.
As a Minister and a member of Merry Grove MB Church, she has proven to be a growing steward of God's Word. She displays an admirable "Ministry of Helps".