Pastor Veronice Horne opens every United Community Corporation board meeting with a prayer.
Anyone that knows the pastor would expect nothing less. Prayer is as much a part of her life as breathing and each time that she closes her eyes to talk with God, her words carry hope, faith and most importantly, gratitude. Pastor Horne herself has a lot to be grateful for. Long before she became a pastor, God helped her through her darkest days.
A fractioned glimpse of the trials Pastor Horne experienced only begins to tell her journey’s inspirational story. As a teenager, she ran away from home and lived on the streets of Newark for what she didn't know would be 10 years. Veronice became an alcoholic and resorted to prostitution to survive. She even carried a weapon as a means to protect herself.
Then, a free meal at Newark’s Goodwill Rescue Mission changed the trajectory of her life forever. One of the organization’s churchwomen approached her with a conversation and helped Veronice find her passion for helping people. That conversation was one of the moments that motivated Veronice to graduate high school, get a job, eventually marry and pushed her towards her generous life mission.
It’s a joy to give back. All of the things that I’ve done for my community never felt like work
Throughout her esteemed career in charitable service, Pastor Horne has helped thousands of people. She served as a board member for both the Goodwill Rescue Mission and United Community Corporation. Using her own money, Pastor Horne purchased food and clothing and personally distributed the items from her car trunk in the heart of Newark. In 2011, Pastor Horne founded her passion project, The Hands of a Woman Ministry Inc. - where she offered a hand up to women dealing with homelessness, addiction and abuse. Much like UCC's goal of bringing clients from dependency to self-sufficiency, Pastor Horne’s mission was to restore her clients to a life of independence.
For years, Pastor Horne has been a frequent soldier on the frontlines of giving back to Newark.
“I’m a firm believer in the lord. I know that my life was planned by him and I just walked that path,” Pastor Horne said. “I’ve met people that in no way I could’ve met on my own. I’ve been to places that in no way I could’ve been to on my own. God paved the way for me.”God’s plan brought Pastor Horne to the United Community Corporation the moment it came into existence in 1964. She heard about the organization from a member of her church, immediately got involved and stayed involved.
“I really do believe that UCC is at the heart of the community,” she said. “I’ve seen it and I’ve been a part of it.”
“It’s a joy to give back. All of the things that I’ve done for my community never felt like work. It was a pleasure to come up with ideas and figure out how to get them to work. Whether we gathered clothes or went to businesses asking for food, furniture or whatever, it never felt like work.”
Thank you for your service not only to United Community Corporation but to the community at large. It's been a joy serving with you Pastor Horne. You are a Phenomenal Woman and an inspiration.