After 30 years of marriage and four children, Pastors Joel and Ylwanda Peebles are still in love. (Courtesy photo)
After 30 years of marriage and four children, Pastors Joel and Ylwanda Peebles are still in love. (Courtesy photo)

The first time Joel Peebles saw a visitor to his church named Ylwanda, he reached out for her hand.

Pastors Joel and Ylwanda Peebles lead City of Praise Ministries in Landover, Maryland. (Courtesy photo)

“I shook her hand, and I never let go. I didn’t care who was watching,” said Peebles, who, after 30 years and four children, is still in love with the woman who would become his friend, bride and partner in one of the area’s most significant ministries. 

“My wife is a part of my soul that I would never have known was available,” Peebles said. “She brings energy, passion and fun to my life,” Ylwanda said their relationship became only after she learned to love herself. 

“Marriage is for mature people,” she said. “The moment you properly love yourself, you will emotionally be available to love to love your mate properly.” 

The love between Pastors Joel and Ylwanda Peebles is displayed every Sunday at the City of Praise Family Ministries in Landover. They are among several couples in the area who have shared the pulpit and the bedroom for many years. 

While most pastors have first ladies who support their husband’s ministries, the Washington, D.C., area has several couples that share preaching duties, from Alfred and Susie Owens at Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church to Grainger and JoAnne Browning at Ebenezer AME Church. 

Pastors Joel and Ylwanda Peebles (Courtesy photo)

Pastors Lyle and Deborah Dukes in Woodbridge, Virginia, Creflo and Taffi Dollar, co-pastor World Changers Church in Atlanta, and T.D. and Serita Jakes of the Potter’s House in Texas are examples of church leaders who are, as couples, guiding their flock.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Joel Peebles preached a sermon titled “How to Make Love,” Following the service, the church had a Super Bowl party from noon until after the game. 

The Peebles have four children, ages 27, 25, 24 and 18, who they say are doing well at their young ages. 

“I was always there for my children,” the father and pastor emphasized.

As a husband and spiritual leader, Peebles said he believes people often get relationships wrong and twisted. 

“Many singles fall in love and then marry the person, and the reality is every woman needs security, and every man wants respect and sex.”

Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the...

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