Pastor Jonathan and Robin Tagg

JONATHAN TAGG

PASTOR

Jonathan Tagg has been in full time ministry since 1989, Pastoring in Pittsburgh, Florida and Colorado. In 2003 Jonathan and Robin moved to NC where he worked with The Navigators on their 20something National Leadership Team. A desire to do ministry in a different way led the Taggs to purchase and manage a live music venue until 2009, when they accepted a call to Pastor The River. Jonathan earned his masters and doctorate from Trinity in Pennsylvania. He is a husband and father to five, loves sports, the outdoors, motorcycles, and hanging out with family. [Email Jonathan]

Chris, Stephanie, and Zeke Meckley

CHRIS MECKLEY

Youth Pastor / Deacon

Chris and Stephanie moved from the Pittsburgh area to the New River Valley in July 2014 so that Chris could work with students at The River. He works mostly with middle and high schoolers. Before moving to the NRV he attended Grove City College and Trinity School for Ministry. Chris was ordained as a deacon in the Diocese of Christ Our Hope (ACNA) on October 27, 2018. Stephanie is a registered nurse in the area, and they have two sons, Ezekiel (Zeke), born in November 2015, and Asher, born in January 2018, as well as a golden retriever, Chewie. [Email Chris]

Worship Director - Ross, Jen, Jonah, Rainer

ROSS WILSIE

WORSHIP LEADER

Ross has lived in the NRV since 1998, when he enrolled as a student at Virginia Tech. During his time there, he was active in New Life Christian Fellowship (NLCF) leading small groups and participating in the music team. He currently works in the IT department of a local behavioral health agency as a Trainer and System Administrator. Ross and his wife, Jennifer were married in 2006 and have two children, Jonah and Rainer. Ross’s musical journey began with piano lessons when he was around five years old. He would later learn to play the violin, which he still plays today. He also enjoys singing and playing the mandolin and acoustic guitar. Ross has been an active member of the music team at The River since the church’s beginnings in 2005, and he began his time as Worship Leader in August of 2011. He has seen his passion for music ministry grow significantly in the time since, and he’s excited about how God will continue to use music in his life to impact the lives of others. [Email Ross]

Discipleship Directors - Chris and Claire

CHRIS AND CLAIRE ANDREWS

CO-DIRECTORS OF DISCIPLESHIP / Priest

Chris and Claire grew up in the upstate of South Carolina, were high school sweethearts, and married after graduating from Clemson in 1987.  They have two young adult children, Laura and Wesley, who live in South Carolina. Before kids, Claire taught middle school language arts and earned an M.Ed. from USC. Chris has been a software developer his entire career (still doing that part-time) with an MBA from UNC. They've worked together in church throughout their marriage, first as youth ministry counselors, then for the last 20+ years in their passion: helping adults grow as disciples of Jesus through Bible studies and small groups. Before coming to The River, Claire was the Adult Education Director at Mt. Horeb UMC in Lexington, SC, from 2001-2013, and Chris completed his M.Div. at Asbury Seminary in 2015. Chris was ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church in North America on October 27, 2018. Both are unapologetic bookworms and mountain lovers. Claire also enjoys gardening, cooking, and trail walking, while Chris can be found running 5K's, playing touch football and strumming guitar quite badly. [Email Chris or Claire]

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NICK gARRETY

mINISTER TO uNIVERSITY sTUDENTS AND yOUNG aDULTS

Nicholas Garrety has been ministering to college students full-time since graduating from Penn State University in 2013. He has served students and young adults at Penn State University Park, Penn State Brandywine, and currently ministers at Virginia Tech and in the surrounding area. While Nick is on staff at The River, his position is in partnership with his sending campus ministry organization, The Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO). Nick's many loves include his wonderful wife Kylie, (who also works full-time for the CCO at Virginia Tech), backpacking on the Appalachian Trail with Kylie and their dog Podrick, riding his longboard and fixed-gear bicycle, and listening to far too many podcasts. [email Nick]

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Mary and Jack McDonald

Director of International Ministry / Deacons

Mary and Jack were ordained to the diaconate on March 10, 2017. The McDonalds are missionaries with the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders, with whom they previously served in Cochabamba, Bolivia, teaching animal husbandry and helping in micro-finance projects. In addition to their work as Deacons at The River, Mary has since developed a large-animal demonstration site at their home in Catawba where she prepares U.S. vet teams for global ministry. Mary is also overseeing goat projects as part of an evangelism and community development program in East Africa and is the Director of International Ministry at The River. [Email Mary or Jack]

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Reagan Whelan

Staff Administrator / Children’s Ministry Coordinator

Reagan and Matt moved to Blacksburg from Texas about 3 years ago. They lived in Texas for 12 years after moving there from Australia (where Matt was born and raised). Reagan and Matt are both teachers in the area, and Reagan is very excited to share her love for God and passion for children with the children and families at The River. Reagan and Matt married in Australia in 2001. They have three daughters. Together as a family they enjoy being outdoors, cooking, music, and many other adventures that come their way. [Email Reagan]

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Kelsa Graybill

Youth Ministry Assistant

Kelsa began working with youth at The River in September 2018. Kelsa met her husband Philip at Grove City College, where she studied English and he studied mechanical engineering.  They got married in 2016 and moved to Virginia when Philip began graduate school at Virginia Tech.  After teaching Bible at a Christian school for two years, Kelsa began a master’s from Talbot School of Theology.  The Graybills love reading, hiking mountains, traveling to new places (like the Sea of Galilee, in their picture), and sharing food and conversation with friends and family.  [Email Kelsa]

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Scott Cramer

Deacon

Scott comes to Blacksburg from Knoxville, TN - first as a VT student in 2002 (Go Hokies!) - and again in 2011 for his civil engineering job. A volunteer Deacon at The River, Scott was ordained in the Diocese of Christ our Hope (ACNA) in October 2018. Scott has a passion for getting people into God's Word while getting God's Word into people, and making disciples who will become disciple-makers. Scott loves the blend of ancient and contemporary worship in the Anglican liturgy at The River, and is always up for a good conversation on the relevance and value of how liturgy and Sacrament can form us as Christians. You can also find Scott enjoying and watching plenty of sports with friends, volunteering with Young Life in the NRV, practicing (poorly) his many funny foreign accents, enjoying a tasty beer, and planning mission trips to Belize!