The Rev. Bettyann West Gilmore, MA, Ordained Deacon United Methodist Church (UMC), Elementary Education Teacher, K-12 Teacher of the Handicapped, Student Assistance Counselor, Master Life Coach, Health and Wellness Coach
“Gilmore” is the inspiration and Honorary Chair of Gilmore House. As a single mother of a son with Intellectual Disabilities and a pre-teen daughter, Bettyann adopted Imani, an infant with Down’s Syndrome. The circumstances of Imani’s adoption more than 20 years ago are nothing short of miraculous.
She was the first woman of color to be ordained a Deacon in the Southern New Jersey Conference in the United Methodist Church. In the UMC the Order of Deacon is to Love, Justice, Service and Order. Deacons are the bridge between local congregations and the wider community.
Pastor Jackie’s son Andrew is the same age as Imani. The four met at the childcare center for attendees of a mandatory church meeting when Andrew & Imani were toddlers. It was necessary for both mothers to be present with their children frequently, as the center was not equipped for their children’s special needs.
When Andrew and Imani were adults, Gilmore and Pastor Jackie found themselves working together as Deacon and Elder at the Ballard UMC in Asbury Park. It is through that shared ministry that the dream of Gilmore House began to take shape.