Morning Star Staff


Rev. Dr. Myrlene Hamilton Hess

Myrlene Hamilton

Rev. Dr. Myrlene Hamilton grew up in South Dakota, and has a B.S. degree in Secondary Education from Northern State University in Aberdeen. She also has  M. Div. and D. Min. degrees from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. HEr passion in ministry is helping people find their special gifts for ministry and putting them to work in places that are fulfilling and that help the chruch grow. When time permits, she enjoys leading retreats and speaking at seminars. She has served churches in California, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska before moving to New Jersey. When she is not teaching or preacheing or leading groups at Morning Star, she enjoys writing, spending time outdoors and playing with their Labrador Retriever, Amazing Grace. She is the author of Being the Body of Christ, Turning Points, All I Need to Know About Ministry I Learned from Fly Fishing, and her newest book, On the Road to Emmaus, A Travel Guide Through Grief. Myrlene is married to Eric Hess, an elder at Morning Star Presbyterian Church.





Founding Co-Pastor:

Click here for memorial information about Rev. Dr. Ed Hamilton

Music Ministry:

Tom McGowan
(Music Minister)

PHOTO - Tom Staff

Tom has been a member of the Morning Star Musis Ministry Tam since July 1994. He was performing with a musical group at the Ocean County Fair when his wife came across the Morning Star booth advertising for an accompanist. Tom auditioned that following Sunday and the rest is history.He’s employed as a full time electronic engineer but his real love is muisc. Tom has been amusician for over twenty-five years. Together with julie Lawrence, he has composed two original songs. The sheet music is Copyright Pending and will be available soon.






Tony DiDia
(Choir Director)

PHOTO - Tony Staff

Tony has been a musician and vocalist most of his life, singing and playing in wedding and party bands as a young man, and studing piano, voice and opera privately. He has performed in community theaters professionally and semi-professionally for more than thirth years as a musical director, actor and singer. He also studied electronic engineering technology and received his associate’s degree from DeVry University. He worked as a technical writer, writing maintenance, repair, and installation manuals. He is originally from Belleville New Jersey, and moved to So. Toms River in 1999. He is so glad to become a part of the Morning Star Family and is looking forward to revitalizing his relationship with God.







Candy Peterson

Updated Candy Picture

Our secretary, Candy Peterson, loves her job as church secretary and wants very much to use it to serve God and her Morning Star Family. Candy is a Certified Spiritual Director who leads our ministry of spiritual direction and who loves preaching. She is an ordained elder and a Care Pastor here at Morning Star. Her husband Bob, who was her minister partner and the love of her life went to be with the Lord on December 7, 2010. He will be very missed. When she is not working, Candy enjoys the outdoors and especially taking long walks with her two beautiful Labrador Retrievers, Cocoa







Candy shares at the Memorial Service for Bob

My Sweetheart










Bob Peterson