320 Beach 94th St, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693, us

(718) 634-4701

Welcome to First Congregational Church of Rockaway Beach

Meet Our Pastor

Joyce P. Brandon Dugger

Reverend Joyce P. Brandon Dugger is the daughter of Mrs. Ella Paige Brandon and the late Leon Brandon. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and is a successful product of the District 17 Public School system. Rev. Dugger continued her professional education in NYC and holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration and Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary as well as educational credits from Long Island University and St. Rose College.

Rev. Dugger, began her career as a healthcare executive. As her family grew, she left corporate America to become a teacher which was an easy choice, coming from a public service-centered family.

Rev. Dugger embraced her second career as a school teacher, serving 22 years in Districts 17, 19, and 21 as a Reading teacher, Crisis Intervention teacher and Restorative Justice coach. She enjoyed teaching and learning from her students, but there was a still small voice saying, “Education is excellent, but you have been called to do more work.”  Here is where her purpose and professional career began to meld. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “ Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Rev. Dugger became a change agent. Now you may ask yourself, what is a change agent? A change agent is someone that can come out of his/her social location and guide others to be the best they can be, without infringing on one’s value system.

As a change agent, she serves as Designated Pastor of First Congregational Church of Rockaway Beach, UCC, where she knows God is doing a new thing. The church motto, “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey you are welcome here,” speaks volume to our world. Just show up and see what God will do. Show up and be safe. No judgment! Love never fails.

In addition to serving the Rockaway community, Rev. Dugger has a wealth of experience in ministry. She serves currently as Protestant Chaplain at Hofstra University. Then, Pastor of Young Adults ministry at Community United Methodist Church in Massapequa, Long Island, and Supply Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Queens Village, NY; Special Project Coordinator at Baptist General Convention in Richmond, VA; Facilitator/Teacher at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY as well as Youth Life Coach at Valley Stream Presbyterian Church, Valley Stream, NY; and Youth and Young Adults minister at First Baptist Church of Far Rockaway. 

Rev. Joyce P Dugger was the first woman licensed and ordained at Friendship Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY, in 94 years. She served as Youth Pastor, Sunday School Assistant Superintendent, and Youth and Young Adults leader under Pastor Craig B. Gaddy.  

Rev. Dugger is Co-Conver of Women in Ministry, State of New York. She is the co-author of “How to Survive When Your Ship is Sinking” and an article on Mediator.Com titled “What is a Faith-Based Mediator?”. In 2004, she visited Bangalore, India on her first mission trip out of the country. It was life-changing – she learned that God is not only in America! 

A spokesperson for an organ transplant, she is a donor and a recipient of a kidney. She encoruages everyone to remember that “Greater love has no one than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend” John 15:13.

Rev. Joyce P.  Brandon Dugger is the mother of five beautiful grown children and the grandmother of six amazing grandchildren.

Rev. Dugger favorite Biblical text is Psalm 18:28-30: “For God will light my lamp; The Lord, my God, will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, God’s way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is proven. God is a shield to all who trust him.”