In 2007 after thirteen years of marriage Denise’s battle for her home ended in the heartbreak of divorce. For a year Denise did not write or travel or lead the Bible Study ministry that she had led for years. Instead, she focused solely on her healing and went on a desperate journey to reclaim her heart.
During that journey, a heart that had been shut down to fear and disappointment came back to life as Denise learned to shed her people pleasing fear and to let go of the pain of the dreams that had not come true. Through that pain God birthed a new dream and Reclaiming Hearts Ministries was born and the book from that journey, Reclaiming Your Heart: A Journey Back to Laughing, Loving and Living and its fiction companion, Secrets Over Sweet Tea were birthed as well.
But God wasn’t done. Denise returned to ministry all while praying a prayer, “God if you have a man for me, I just want one. No free dinners. No drama. Just your man.” He assured her He was more than capable of getting His man to her. And He did. In 2009 Denise met Philly Jones over a plate of fried fish and cheese grits. She will tell you quickly, “His heart captured me.” And in 2010 they married and she became the bonus mom to five amazing kiddos. “It’s like drinking water from a fire-hydrant”, she describes. “And marrying this man has been a beautiful part of reclaiming so many of the places in my heart that had been so deeply wounded in my first marriage. This man wouldn’t even google me!” She says with a rich laugh. “He wanted to get to know me. Just me.”
Where it Began
Denise Jones grew up as a preacher’s kid. By the time she graduated high school she had lived in eight different cities and gone to as many schools. Yet South Carolina held her deep family heritage and her heart. It also afforded her a stable college season at The University of South Carolina where she majored in Journalism but dreamed of becoming a Christian singer.
Two weeks after she graduated with her BA in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports, she made her way to Nashville, Tennessee to chase that dream. But it wouldn’t be caught. Instead, she would. By God’s dreams for her. Six months after her Nashville arrival she met Nancy Alcorn, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries of America, and was asked by Nancy to help her finish writing her book “Echoes of Mercy.” It was with that invitation that Denise found not only a passion, but discovered her gift for writing.
For ten years she would write for other people. During that time she would also discover both a passion and gift for teaching as well as she was invited to begin teaching a college and career class at her church.
In 2002 Denise decided that she wanted to write stories of her own. Her heart gravitated to non-fiction. She wanted to be known for powerful Bible Studies and Christian Living books that would impact people in their deepest places. But she couldn’t get them published. However, her belief that she was called to write caused her to ask herself if she could write fiction. Having never written a page of fiction at all, “but told a great deal of it” as she likes to say, she wrote her first novel, with the three things that she knew: crazy people, the south and rigged beauty pageants. In 2004 her first novel, Savannah from Savannah, about a young newspaper reporter who writes human interest stories for the local newspaper, writes her first column about a rigged beauty pageant of which her mother is a former queen of. The “gift of that story” as she says, was the beginning of her fiction journey that now spans eight novels.
A powerful teacher to this generation and the next, Denise Jones has a message of the redeeming power of God and the beauty of our God designed hearts.
Denise loves reading a good book, enjoying a cold Coca-Cola, and spending time with her beautiful family over Sunday dinner. She loves laughing with Philly, eating Mexican with anyone and the deep friendships she is blessed to know.
Joan Berry is a native of Charleston, SC, and attended Newberry College and the College of Charleston. She has spent the majority of her professional career in the banking industry working at First Federal where she served as Quality Coach and then the Supervisor of the Contact Center. In 2012, she left the industry to work for Reclaiming Hearts Ministries as the Administrative Director where she spent five of those years overseeing the Weekend Experiences. She left Reclaiming Hearts Ministries in an official capacity in 2018. She is married to her husband John of 33 years and they have one son.
Basil O. Dosunmu currently serves as the Senior Vice President – Administration and Finance/CFO at Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District. Basil has more than 26 years of accounting and auditing experience in various industries, to include state and local government, as well as career experience as a global consultant where he was focused on improving business processes and exploring and evaluating new business opportunities.
Basil is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, and a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives. Mr. Dosunmu is a member of the South Carolina Board of Accountancy and the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Rutgers University in Newark, NJ.
For more than 30 years, Ken Edwards has demonstrated his passion for people by engaging in their stories, their work, and their hearts. Ken currently coaches men and women across the country in high-ranking leadership positions who are dedicated to excellence and positive impact in their lives.
He was a founding member of the Refuge Center in Franklin, TN, a nonprofit counseling center that provides desperately needed services to the community. Ken also helped found the Center for Women in Medicine in Nashville, which provides resources and guidance for women in medical training and practice. He is currently also a board member for the Genesis Project in Denver, Colorado, a group that provides soul care for pastors.
Ken holds a B.S. in Education from the University of Arkansas, an M.A. in Education from Southwestern Seminary, and an M.Div. and M.A. in Marriage and Family Counseling. He has been married to his wife, Janet, for 37 years. The couple has three sons, three daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. Ken and Janet are longtime residents of Franklin, TN. When not at home, Ken can be found riding his motorcycle, backpacking, or casting fly lines knee-deep in an alpine river.
Denise is the Founder and President of Reclaiming Hearts Ministries. The author of eleven books, Denise has been a Bible Teacher for over two decades. She comes from a lineage of pastor’s and is one of many in her family now serving in full-time ministry. Having launched Reclaiming Hearts Ministries in 2011, she has served as its President and visionary forming a ministry of healing, outreach, and spiritual growth. She continues to write new books and foster new vision. She has traveled internationally to speak and has also spoken for the Billy Graham Association. She makes her home in Franklin, TN where she loves family, friends, good food, and SEC football.
Philly serves as a senior vice president and financial advisor for CAPTRUST where he is responsible for providing holistic retirement plan advisory services to fiduciaries of corporate retirement plans. Philly began his career in 1996 at Arthur Andersen, leading the defined contribution unit of Andersen’s Institutional Investment Consulting Practice. In 2005, he co-founded and became managing partner of Atlanta-based FiduciaryVest, an independent, employee-owned boutique advisory firm specializing in cutting-edge investment advisory services and fiduciary oversight strategies.
Philly is a summa cum laude graduate of Furman University, where he enjoyed being quarterback and captain of the football team. Philly loves coaching youth sports, SEC football, being with his five children, and serves with Denise at the Reclaiming Hearts Weekend Experiences as well as being Chairman of the Board.
Deneen serves as President / CEO of HopeHouse International®. She is a graduate of Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business and was also a professional singer. Deneen sang for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association over the span of 23 years, as well as traveled with Anne Graham Lotz as Worship Leader/Soloist for several Crusades in Eastern Europe.
With a slavic heritage, Deneen’s ministry in Ukraine began in early 1990. She was the first American artist to release a Contemporary Christian recording during Communism, sponsored and distributed by the Soviet Government. Simultaneously with her music ministry in Ukraine, she focused on orphan care and indigenous adoptions.
After ministering to orphans for a decade, Deneen and her Ukrainian ministry partner co-founded HopeHouse International®, a ministry to orphans. Deneen, her husband, Mark, their son, Drew, and many others have continued to serve orphans through HopeHouse International® for over two decades.
Industry Music Publishing Veteran, Stacey Willbur, has worked for some of the top Music Publishing houses in Nashville. She started her career with EMI Christian Music Publishing where she was a part of growing the publishing team and the beginning of the WorshipTogether brand. The EMI family led her to the Country division in 2002 where she worked with songwriters Chris Stapleton, Joanna Cotton, John Paul White, Kelly Lovelace, and Jamie O’Neal. The last seven years she served as Senior Creative Director at Brentwood-Benson / Capitol CMG working with some of the top Christian writers & artists – Ben Glover, David Garcia, Chris Stevens, Kari Jobe, Mandisa, Chris Tomlin, and Jamie Grace. At present, Stacey has taken her knowledge to create services for other companies. She is currently working for Full Circle Music as Vice President Publishing / A&R.
Mary (Packer) Wilson
Packer was founder and lead designer in the award winning firm of “Packer and Associates.” During her 25 years of consulting, she and her design associates were the recipients of many design awards and publication features (most notable, Builder’s Magazine’s, “Best New Home in the Nation”). Her leadership abilities in the industry were rewarded by being elected the first woman president of the Home Builders Association of Middle Tennessee where she remains a Life Board Member.
Throughout her career, Packer’s talent for hospitality has been a highlighted gift and has been shown through her passion for bringing people together when organizing Garden Clubs, neighborhood groups, and serving as President of the Parent Teacher Association. She loves people and loves serving them as evidenced by the mentoring ministry she began called Gate Keepers. Eighty years young, widowed, living in Franklin, TN, Packer enjoys time with her two sons, spur of the moment visits with friends, and her involvement in Reclaiming Hearts Ministries.