Our History

Spirit & Life UMC was established in July 2010. The first worship service was held on Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 10 a.m. and was led by Elder Matt Meisenhelter at Forest Park High School in Montclair, VA. A news article, entitled "Our Faith" stated, there were many who came to worship that first Sunday, which also included the establishment of Sunday school for children. Subsequently, one hundred worshippers called S&L their church home. This new faith community was committed to serving others through partnerships and smaller ministries such as ACT's and Pub Ministry. In addition, S&L supported local relief efforts to include a prison ministry, and other micro-ministries such as divorce recovery. The founding members included but not limited to: Jessica Miller, Mike Allen, Terry Forman Dearth, Debra Hottle Coppa, Rebekah McGee, Michelle Bressi Michael and Rossana Finegan. The first Worship Music Leader was Jerry Wills followed by John Amodea (until 2020).

In 2015, Pastor Matt Benton became the second pastor to serve S&L Church and faithfully led the church during a time of transition. Also, in 2015, a Bilingual Worship Service was established and led by Lay Supply Pastors Peter Berberena, Mario Velez and Michael Finegan. In March 2020, the two congregations were combined and began worshipping together a few weeks prior to COVID-19 Global Pandemic in March 2020. In July 2020, Rev. Dr. Donna Taylor became our Lead Pastor with Mario Velez serving as the Associate Pastor.

Today, our Lead Pastor is Mario Velez. S&L has experienced changes during the pandemic of 2020-21. As a result, S&L has engaged through virtual worship that was either recorded or Facebook Live Stream and YouTube initiated by John Amodea. Subsequently, Tony Ayala, Trustee forged ahead to offer a sophisticated online presence for our worship services. Due to social-distancing and the requirement to wear masks a few in-person services have led to our online worship presence, which engages more than one hundred persons beyond our local community. We continue to worship every Sunday in-person and online.

Our Youth Director, Janice Chipman leads our leadership team. Our Youth Leadership team includes Karen Valencia, Jessenia Ramirez, Kerry and Matt Bitterman to host events such as Pumpkin Carving, Virtual Game Night, and Cupcake Face-off. Since, 2020 Andre Leonard leads our Praise Band as he blesses us with his many gifts and talents. Virtual Bingo is led by Stephanie Flowers and Janice Chipman to support engagement of our senior citizens in the community at Brookdale Assisted Living in Lake Ridge. Our community partners include Streetlight Ministries in support of their food pantry, Christmas Toy Drive and Adopt-a-Family at Christmas to bless our neighbors. S&L continues to promote small groups such as the Gift Ministry, Women's Group, the Men's group, and 2nd Hour which focus on discipleship in our multicultural and multigenerational faith community. Spirit & Life UMC continues to serve the Lord and our neighbors in Spirit and in Truth.