Spiritual Counselor Feeds Body and Soul
Wednesday, May 6, 2020 would have been Mozelle’s fraternal grandmother’s “95th” birthday and the family wanted to celebrate her memory… of course with food. Like many celebrations, gathering physically was not a possibility due to COVID-19 restrictions. So, the family matriarch Aunt Beulah asked each family member to cook one of Virginia Mozelle’s favorite dishes to enjoy and to honor her memory. Dave cooked fried crispy fish and cornbread “What a joyful time of remembrance,” he said.
W.D. "Dave" Mozelle has a smile that is both joyful and reassuring. He is a kind person and a man of God. He also a pretty good cook and combines his innate talents, spiritual devotion and his culinary passion to comfort and care for others. An accomplished professional Chef, and esteemed Pastor of the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Newtonville, he is also a Certified Police and Fire Chaplain, and a Spiritual Care Counselor at Angelic Health Hospice. Ministering to the body and soul, Mozelle uses his passion for faith and food to serve others and provide spiritual support to hospice patients and their families. "During a time of family tragedy, I found that food changes awkward dynamics," said Mozelle, who often cooks meals for Angelic Hospice patients to promote a satisfied and peaceful mind, and joyful soul. It makes a difference.
His passion for cooking came at 12 years old when he cooked his first Thanksgiving meal. It later became his career, working professionally for over 34 years as a Chef throughout Atlantic County at such notable places as Copsey’s Restaurant, Doc’s Oyster House, Bally’s Park Place, The Sands, Tiffany’s to name a few. Mozelle received his formal culinary training at the Atlantic County Vocational School, Atlantic County Community College, NJ State Department of Health, and American Culinary Federation. He also graduated of the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Philadelphia Bible of College-Iona Campus.
While he did not plan to combine his love of God with his joy of cooking, he gives credit to his higher power in bringing both of these talents together.
"A satisfied stomach equals a peaceful mind, which equals a joyful soul," Mozelle explains. It is why this Chef/Pastor uses food to minister to others and to console and care for hospice patients and their families.
"My entire family fell in love with Pastor Dave and his ability to convey spiritual trues with love, respect, and family-like support for my brother and our entire family," said Eliza Whidbee, whose brother was an Angelic Hospice patient. Whidbee explained that on the morning after his burial, Pastor Dave prepared and delivered a breakfast to the family. "It was absolutely delicious!" she said "My family is still speaking about the hospitality he extended to them. He has such a soothing and quiet voice. Speaking with him is automatically calming. And, as with the rest of the team, he was able to humbly explain to me certain aspects of caring for the dying I had not understood before," she said, adding that Pastor Dave was with the family when their brother passed, providing comfort and support.
"Often time it is natural for our flesh and spirit to become weaken,” he explains. "Our mind is somewhat equivalent to a sponge. When the aroma of food soaks into our mind, it begins to change the body. It produces a change in the spirit, which will change one’s attitude towards their environment or community. Stress becomes evicted, and unspeakable joy moves in."
Food is comforting and the aroma of a traditional meals cooking are powerful memories. "Memory eating can bring so much joy to your mind," explains Mozelle. "I say the "mind" because everything we do is connected to the "mind". So, if the mind is relaxed, then our soul becomes relaxed. Which brings comfort in knowing mom, dad, or grandmother’s cooking brought fond memories that have you laughing and releasing "good" tears of joy."
As a church pastor, Rev. Mozelle has often cooked for his congregation over the decades because he learned the impact of food on their lives, changing expressions and emotions from negative to positive.
"Specific foods can also represent thoughts. Such as a tomato is the heart; turkey, the family; lettuce, a sound mind. So, when I’m preparing a meal, I like to give it careful thought on each item representing my guest, my family," he said, noting that family isn’t always blood relatives, but those who you connect with in your heart.
Blood doesn’t necessarily equal family but love always conquers a multitude of "Food For The Soul".