As an Air Force brat, a Navy spouse, and a life-long United Methodist, Melissa has always found her second home in the church. She first felt a call to ministry at the age of 19 when she became a Stephen Minister, but it took many more years to discern her call to ordination. During that time, she lived and traveled around the US and Asia, developing a deep compassion for people who are suffering, both physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Melissa had planned to go back to school to get a PsyD (Doctorate in Psychology), but after working as a youth director at First UMC Kenosha, WI decided to take some classes at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and discerned her calling to connect the church to the hurting world. Upon moving to the San Diego area, Melissa served as the youth director at First UMC Chula Vista for a few years before continuing her seminary education at Claremont School of Theology.
Melissa served as the site pastor at Point Loma United Methodist Church for a year before the merger with FUMCSD and now serves as the Pastor of Justice and Compassion. As a Deacon*, this allows her to be a bridge between the church and the people of San Diego, while fulfilling her passion for social justice and compassionate care.
Melissa received a BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology, and a Master of Social Work from San Diego State University. She has been married to her husband Dennis for over 20 years and they have two daughters. She loves to read, spend time outdoors and travel to new places.
*Deacons are ordained United Methodist clergy who lead the church in relating Christians to their ministries in the world through worship leadership, preaching, teaching, nurturing spiritual vitality and leading ministries of service, love, and justice.