William H. Acosta, Sr.
William Acosta currently is Housing Coordinator and Day Program Unit Counselor at Bridge House, Inc. in Bridgeport, CT. Bridge House is a psychosocial rehabilitation program for adults recovering from the prolonged effects of psychiatric illness. Bridge House is a fully accredited International Center for Clubhouse Development (ICCD) Clubhouse. At Bridge House, William helps Clubhouse members with a cornucopia of needs as prescribed by the ICCD Standards, with a focus on obtaining or maintaining housing. He attends Advocacy events to advance the cause of persons with mental health disabilities in the media, as well as to local and state legislators. He oversees the production of the Clubhouse's daily newsletter, as well as the quarterly publication, the "880 Gazette." He adds his clergy services and musical skills to the array of activities at Bridge House as requested by the Executive Director or the Program Director.
Since May 2009 William has served on the Board of Directors of the Disability Resource Center of Fairfield County. He has been the Board's treasurer since May 2010. The Disability Resource Center of Fairfield County is a cross-disability resource and advocacy organization for people with disabilities. With the Greater Bridgeport Disability Advocacy Collaborative (BDAC), William helped lead the effort to reestablish the City of Bridgeport Commission for People with Disabilities in November 2009. He has served on the Executive Committee of BDAC since october 2011.
Since June 2006 William has served as Minister of Music at Immanuel Missionary Baptist Church in New Haven CT. He is head musician, and he is responsible for the overall growth and development of the church's Music Ministry. He is responsible for assembling a conjunction of musicians to travel with the Pastor and choirs to Pastoral speaking engagements, as well as preparing musical presentations for miscellaneous services, programs and functions. On Minister Acosta's watch, via the guidance of the Holy Spirit and under the supervision of the Pastor, the Immanuel Music Ministry has seen the spawning of Praise & Worship teams, a Young Adult Choir, a Performing Arts Ministry, a Liturgical Ensemble, growth and development of the church's Praise Dancers, Praise Hymn Singers, a multiplication in the size of the Music Ministry staff, and the establishment and development of a Music Ministry office with meeting and rehearsal space.
From 2006-2010 William was Pastor of the Sword of the Spirit Christian Church in Bridgeport. Pastor Acosta and his wife, Pastor Gayle Acosta, launched Sword of the Spirit in May 2006. As pastor of worship and counseling, Pastor William was worship leader during Sunday services. He also provided counseling to members of the congregation as indicated.
For the past year, Rev. Acosta has collaborated with Agape Church for the Homeless, a ministry operated by a local Korean congreagation out of Salem Lutheran Church in New Haven that provides hot meals and spiritual feeding to numerous homeless persons. William periodically brings a word of comfort and then serves communion to those suffering from the pervasive chronicity of homelessness.
William served as Music Coordinator for the Music Ministry at Mount Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport from 1996-2006. He began his tenure on the musical staff at Mount Aery in 1984. As chief musician, keyboardist and singer, William was responsible for the selection and preparation of music for each Sunday service, meeting or rehearsing with the various choirs, choir directors, groups, musicians and soloists, and leading the musicians during the course of each worship celebration. William was also responsible for preparing choirs and musicians to travel to Pastoral speaking engagements, as well as other church and community events as indicated. Moreover, he collaborated with the Music Ministry's Administrative Coordinator in the management of the ministry's overall affairs. In 1997 William was presented with a proclamation from the CT State Legislature for his outstanding work in the ministry of music in the greater Bridgeport area and beyond.
From 2003-2006, William served as Mount Aery's Church Office Administrator. In that capacity, he was responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the numerous ministries' various schedules and church event itineraries, as well as an assortment of additional duties in the management of church office operations.
William was an employee of the CT State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services from 1984-2003. He worked the entire time at the Southwest CT Mental Health System's Greater Bridgeport Community Mental Health Center (GBCMHC). During that time he served in a variety of capacities, including Quality Assurance Council member, Lead Mental Health Worker on all inpatient units, Intake Clinician, and Primary Clinician in the Hispanic Services Unit. In 1989 and 1990 William was voted Outstanding Mental Health Worker at the Center. In 1991 he was named GBCMHC Employee of the Year, and in 1997 he received a Governor's service award from then-Gov. John G. Rowland for outstanding contributions to the State of Connecticut, its citizens, and Mental Health services consumers.
William also served as head musician at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Bridgeport for 10 years (1986-1996). In addition, he has spearheaded "The Praise Syndicate," an autonomous traveling instrumental music ministry comprised of musicians with whom he has worked over the years. The Praise Syndicate has provided the studio music on the recordings of several area Gospel Artists, and in 1994 the band was recognized as "Best Instrumental Gospel Group" by the Conncecticut Christian Artists Alliance. The band is currently known as The Praize Syndicate and Evolution, as it comprises an energetic, dynamic group of yong singers and musicians who minister alongside the veteran Praise Syndicate band members. The Praize Syndicate and Evolution is the flagship music ministry of Acosta Ministries. William also played with the Bridgeport Mass Choir from 1995-2003, Rev. Alfred Boyd and the Message Group from 1996-2003, violinist Kersten Stevens from 1997-2007, as well as with numerous other area Christian musical artists. He also provided live music for a myriad of community Christian events and functions over the past 26 years.
William brings to the Music Ministry many years of experience as a musician and bandleader in a variety of settings and venues. Prior to moving to CT from North Carolina in 1984, William played and sang in an array of professional secular bands, most notable of which was "Janice," a five-piece group who traveled both nationally and internationally, and who opened for major entertainers such as comedians Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor, and musical celebrities Patti Page, War, and the Drifters. "Janice" also appeared on the television shows "The Dinah Shore Show" and "The Mike Douglas Show." Moreover, "Janice" released an album on the Fantasy Records label in 1975 that received international airplay and attention.
William's wife, Gayle, is a dynamic musical talent who brings over 40 years of music and worship leadership in her own right. The Acostas have teamed up to perform and teach choirs and music workshops in a variety of services and events since their marriage in 2003. Moreover, four of their children--also gifted in music--have collaborated with them in the preparation and presentation of music at Immanuel, Sword of the Spirit, Mount Aery and elsewhere.
William did his undergraduate study at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. He was ordained into the ministry in March 2006 by the Jesus of Nazareth Church International church body. He is of Puerto Rican origin and is fluent in Spanish. He and Gayle are the proud parents of five sons and one daughter, and they are the exhuberant grandparents of four.
Gayle E. Acosta
Rev. Gayle Acosta was ordained as an evangelist in 1984 by the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). She is licensed by the State of CT Department of Corrections for Chaplaincy Services. Gayle did her undergrauate work at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. She also completed coursework and graduated summa cum laude from the Hartford Seminary Black Ministries Program in 2010. She was ordained as a Pastor by the Jesus of Nazareth Church International body in March 2006. With William, she cofounded Sword of the Spirit Christian Church in 2006.
Gayle has served as Assistant Minister of Music at Immanuel Baptist Church in New Haven CT since 2007. As Assistant Minister of Music, Gayle has spearheaded pre-rehearsal scripture inspiration in many components of the Music Ministry, brainstormed and implemented Praise and Worship teams, Hymn Singers, Liturgical Ensemble, annual workshops, and weekly prayer time for the Music Ministry. In 2010 she established, with her husband, a Music Ministry office with rehearsal space and the implementation of advanced electronic dissemination of information to the various parts of the Music Ministry.
Gayle brings many years of experience in ministry leadership. From 2003-2005, Gayle served faithfully at Mount Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport. Mount Aery is widely recognized as the largest congregation in Bridgeport, with a membership of about 3,000. Gayle completed training in the Academy of Ministry at Mt. Aery. She worked as Prayer Warriors Ministry Facilitator, 40 Days of Purpose lesson writer, Director of the Gospel Chorus, Primary Assistant Director of the Mass Choir, pianist for the Male Chorus, trainer and selector of music for the Children's Choir, and music / song writer and teacher for the T.O.T.A.L. (Teaching Others to Achieve Literacy) summer program.
From 1998-2003 Gayle served in a variety of capacities at Kingdom Life Christian Church (KLCC) in Milford, CT, an identified megachurch with a membership of 3,000. She was Women's Retreat Conference speaker, and she was the Primary Director for the Adult Choir from 1999-2003. During her tenure as choir director, she was charged with the responsibility of preparing the choir to be the backup vocalists for Christian superstar Ron Kenoly when he performed at KLCC in 2002. In addition to Adult Choir Director, Gayle served as Sunday School teacher, Prison Ministry participant, and Cleaning Team participant.
From 1975-1984 and 1995-1998, at Holy Tabernacle COGIC in Bridgeport, Gayle taught Sunday School, Evening Bible Study, and Vacation Bible School. In addition, she served as Youth & Young Adult Choir Director, Children's Choir and Gospel Chorus organist, Church Clerk and Recording Secretary, Prayer Intercessor, Assistant Sexton, and State of Connecticut COGIC statewide Sunshine Band Director.
From 1987-1994, Gayle served as cofounder and leader of various ministries at Ephesus Temple COGIC in New London, CT. She was founder and director of the Sunbeam Fellowship Youth Program, which rapidly grew to an enrollment of over 150 youths. She was also founder and director of "Rivers of Living Water" Bible Teaching (Bible Study); she was Adult Sunday School teacher; Lead Prayer Intercessor; and Assistant Choir Director and organist.
From 1984-1987, Gayle served at Pentecostal Rescue Mission COGIC in New London, CT. She was Young Adult Sunday School teacher, Youth Night Coordinator, Church Clerk, Missionary for the Women's Ministry, Pianist for the Sunshine Band, Adult Choir, Young Adult Choir, and Male Chorus.
Gayle and William are parents to five sons and one daughter; four of the children have collaborated with their parents in an array of Music Ministry projects at Immanuel, Kingdom Life, Mount Aery, Sword of the Spirit, and elsewhere.
Gayle E. Singleton
Gayle Singleton presently serves as Child Care Teacher at the Child Care Center of the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield, CT. In that role, Gayle provides direct care daily to children from infancy to preschool age. She is responsible for preparing daily or weekly lesson plans. She observes and records the children's developmental progress; provides stimulating and developmentally appropriate activities; prepares learning and play materials; and sets up the environment in the Center as indicated or assigned. In addition, she is responsible for preparing presentations and materials to parents and families of the children during Open House and other Center events and programs.
In addition to her employment involvements, Gayle has been engaged in a variety of community capacities. At Immanuel Baptist Church in New Haven, CT, Gayle currently serves as Music Coordinator, working under the leadership of the Minister of Music and the Assistant Minister of Music. She has worked voluntarily at Immanuel since 2007. As Music Coordinator, Gayle is responsible for researching, selecting, voicing and teaching a variety of music that is presented by the Music Ministry during Sunday morning worship. Gayle currently conducts on Sunday mornings and rehearsals for the Mass Choir, the ERB Gospel Choir, the Young Adult Choir, the Combined ERB & Young Adult Choir, musicians, the Young Adult Praise Team, and the Liturgical Ensemble. In addition, she acts as music precision consultant to the IBC Church Choir and the Adult Praise Team. Moreover, Gayle assists with miscellaneous behind-the-scenes tasks in preparing all Music Ministry components for selected services, programs and functions as requested by the Minister of Music.
Gayle served as Director of Music for Sword of the Spirit Christian Church in Bridgeport, CT from 2006-2009. She was responsible for researching, choosing, voicing and teaching musical selections to be done during the course of Sunday worship and other services, programs and functions. She led the Praise & Worship Team in Sunday worship and all engagements. In addition, she conducted weekly rehearsals with singers and musicians in preparation for the events.
At Mount Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport, CT, Gayle served as the director of the Youth & Young Adult Choir from 2005-2006. She also assisted the church's Music Ministry in selecting and voicing a variety of musical pieces.
Gayle's ear for music and ability to put together intricate pieces of music is legendary among those who have worked with her. At age 14 she voiced and arranged a choral/orchestral presentation of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at Kingdom Life Church in Milford, CT, wowing those around her that a person so young could pull off such a complicated project.
In August 2005, Gayle served on an interdenominational committee that arranged a citywide youth conference called MPAC (Making Progress Amongst the Community). In the summer of 2006, she was an assistant counselor for the TOTAL (Teaching Others to Achieve Literacy) Program at Mt. Aery. Additionally, Gayle volunteered as an assistant to the church's Office Administrator for several hours each week, managing incoming and outgoing phone calls, and doing data entry and filing.
A 2006 graduate of Central High School in Bridgeport, CT, Gayle graduated with a 3.6 GPA. She received the Distributive Education Club of America (DECA) Award for academic excellence in Marketing. DECA is an international association of high school and college students studying marketing, management and enterpreneurship in business, finance, hospitality and marketing sales and service. DECA prepares emerging leaders and enterpreneurs for careers around the globe. She also received the Walter J. Kowalski Memorial Award for excellence in Business. In Marketing class, she participated in two ten-week sessions of the National Stock Market Simulation. Gayle was elected the team Recording Secretary for her team in the fall session. She was involved in extracurricular activities as well, including band, marching band and the Central High School Gospel Choir.
In the community at large, Gayle has contributed her time to the Bridgeport Board of Education (BOE) as a child monitor during citywide parent meetings. She also has served as a volunteer office assistant at the BOE Parent Center.
In August 2002, Gayle was chosen by the People to People Student Ambassadors Program to become a member of the Connecticut delegation representing the United States in Spain, France and Italy in the summer of 2003. As one of the outstanding local students recommended by national education listing organizations, Gayle was selected to join other outstanding students in the Fairfield area delegation.
In June 2000, Gayle received an award for Outstanding Concert Excellence from Franklin School, Stratford, CT. In the same year, she received the Franklin School PTA Award for Superior Ability in Music.
Gayle lives in Bridgeport, CT and is the daughter of William and Gayle; she is a senior--with a double major in Early Childood Development and Business--at Post University in Waterbury, CT. She is excited about her goals for the future.
Jerry Singleton has served as a drummer/percussionist for Acosta Ministries since 2005. He has served as drummer at Immanuel Missionary Baptist Church in New Haven, CT since April, 2007. At Immanuel, Jerry is the drummer for Sunday morning Praise & Worship, the church’s Mass Choir, ERB Gospel Choir, Young Adult Choir, and Liturgical Ensemble. He attends all relevant rehearsals and is responsible for ensuring percussion precision in all musical presentations. As drummer, Jerry ensures that the music is “tight.” In March 2008 Jerry served as drummer for the visiting Bennett College for Women (Greensboro, NC) Choir during its concert at Immanuel.
Jerry is on staff at Cooperative Educational Services in Trumbull CT. He is responsible for the supervision of students with disabilities during transportation to and from school.
For two consecutive years, 2009 and 2010, Jerry was the first round winner of the Guitar Center "drum-off" competitions at the company's New London, CT (2009) and Orange, CT (2010) locations. Note:His performance at the 2010 competition can be seen on this web site by simply clicking on "videos" at the top menu of this page.
From 2006-2009, Jerry served as primary drummer for Sword of the Spirit Christian Church (SOS) of Bridgeport, CT. Jerry was responsible for attending all music ministry rehearsals and assisting in the production and perfection of all selections for Sunday worship and related engagements and presentations. He worked closely with the SOS Director of Music and SOS musical staff. He was also responsible for overseeing and collaborating with additional drummers and percussionists at SOS.
From 2005-2007, Jerry was a staff drummer at Mount Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport, CT. Jerry served as assigned by the church’s Minister of Music, playing two Sunday worship services or as otherwise needed. He played during the church’s annual “Maafa” Production in 2005 and 2006.
From 2005-2007, Jerry was a Fire Alarm Technical Assistant for the Safe Neighborhoods Americorps Partnership in Bridgeport CT. The program, which focuses on public safety, has installed several thousand smoke detectors in over 2,000 homes throughout the city and recently received a grant that will allow it to install another 20,000 over the next five years. In his role, Jerry was responsible for installing and testing fire alarms for residential and commercial properties throughout the city of Bridgeport. Jerry excelled in that role; he was selected to travel to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC in September 2006 with his supervisor and a colleague to lobby for the future of the national service program that has helped almost 500,000 students pay for college. The group met with U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-CT and other legislators during the trip. Jerry said in an interview with the Connecticut Post newspaper on September 13, 2006 that the program had been invaluable to him on many levels. As a result of his two years of service to Americorps, Jerry received $9,450.00 in scholarships to the college or university of his choice.
Jerry is a 2007 graduate of Central High School in Bridgeport. He single and lives in Bridgeport.