"Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies." Proverbs 31:1

After 38 years of dedication and serving selflessly as the Pastor’s Wife of The United Pentecostal Church of El Monte, Bernadine Lucille Cupoli went to be with her Lord and Savior in the early morning hours on June 12th 2015.

The heart of her ministry was a passion for people which reflected her caring nature and desire to be a soul-winner.


She developed close relationships with the families in her church, tended their needs, and gave them gifts. She was known by her timely notes of encouragement that would speak to their hearts. She visited those who were sick and often supplied clothing and meals to needy families. Welcoming newborn babies brought her special joy.­­ Monthly, she conducted classes in which she presented meaningful messages.


She was the sixth of eight children born to George and Ethel Tilghman on September 2, 1949 in Charleston, West Virginia. She graduated in May of 1967 from Charleston High School and was awarded a scholarship to the business college of her choice. After 1 year she enrolled in Apostolic Bible Institute in St Paul, Minnesota. It was there she met Jonathan.


Berni and Jonathan Cupoli were joined in marriage on June 20,1970 at the Open Door Apostolic Church in Charleston, West Virginia. In January, 1971, the couple began their ministry at Harvest Tabernacle, assisting Rev. Bernard and Sandy Elms in Los Angeles, California. In 1977, Rev. Jonathan Cupoli became the pastor of the United Pentecostal Church.


Daily, she was faithful to early morning prayer meetings and was the initiator of Saturday Morning Prayer & Visitation. She would also organize 24 hour prayer chains!


In 1981, because they saw a significant need for their own children, and for the children of the church, Pastor and Sister Cupoli founded El Monte Christian Academy, a Christian school, so that these children could be educated in a godly environment. She served as administrator, and it is because of her work ethic, her administrative skills, and their burden that this school has been such a success.

Hundreds of students have passed through its gates, including the Cupoli children who have now all graduated, and the beloved grandchildren who now attend the school.


Through the years she was involved in varied facets of this ministry, going beyond personally teaching. She trained the staff to strive for excellence in each class session by intense study, prayer, using creative and fun themes and teaching techniques. She led by example as she knew the powerful influence Sunday School would have on every child as she, herself, was a direct product of Sunday School Ministries. 


Not only did she instruct her staff on the need for outreach to the community, but most Saturday mornings found Sis. Cupoli on the streets of her city encouraging others to attend their church. She loved telling others about Jesus!  Winning souls for the Lord was her greatest passion and desire and was seen in every person's life that she touched. She lived, breathed and showed us how to fulfill our great commission of reaching the lost with open and loving arms. 

“What I love doing each Saturday morning: Prayer and Visitation! God first and all else comes together perfectly!” Source: Facebook 12/28/2013

In June, 2013, Sis. Cupoli described her beautiful life in her own words:

I’ve been the wife of Rev. J. L. Cupoli for 43 wonderful years!  I am the mother of three wonderful Christian children who all serve God with their spouses and their children in our local church.  I am the grandmother of the most beautiful GRANDbabies in the world who are my #1 priority in life!   

I assist my husband in pastoring the United Pentecostal Church of El Monte since 1981, I have been the Administrator of El Monte Christian Academy where my children attended and graduated, and NOW my grandchildren attend! I have been involved in Ladies Ministries work for over 25 years as Secretary, Promotions Director, and most recently became the SoCal Ladies Ministries President in 2010.  

My truest passion is soul winning!  I start my day with God and end my day with Him!  He is my life, and my desire is to tell everyone I meet about Him!   I love making a difference in people’s lives daily.  I love “looking” for people who need encouragement and then give them hope through our Lord and Savior! My greatest ministry in our church is greeting and welcoming visitors, letting my church family know they are very important to me and stopping by just to say “I love you and believe in you!”  No greater joy is in my life!

My heart’s desire is to see my children and grandchildren serving God with all of their hearts and fully involved in the Kingdom of God.

-Sis. Berni Cupoli