Chris Stup is our lead pastor. He and Nikki first came to GCC in 2007 and were married later that year. After a season in Colorado, they returned to Roanoke in late 2008. Chris came on staff in 2010, became a licensed assistant pastor in 2012, and was ordained as associate pastor in 2014. In the fall of 2016 he was installed as lead pastor. He obtained both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from James Madison University. After many years of struggling with infertility and loss, their son, Greyson, was born in February of 2014.
Christian Ashworth is our Director of Youth and Worship. Christian has been intensively involved in youth and worship ministry since 2010, volunteering in local churches, youth camps, and outreach programs in southwest Virginia. Christian confidently attributes much of his success to his more talented and more beautiful wife Casey. She brings an anointed dynamic to the couple’s ministry. Casey assists with various ministries at GCC and also oversees some of our media and communications. This power couple tied the knot June 13th, 2015 and are currently living happily ever after.
Erin Rajaniemi is our Director of gccKiDS! She met her husband, Ian, while she was a nanny in college and has been a part of our GCC family since early 2012. She was on staff for our summer youth camp from 2012-2014 and also served as a volunteer in our nursery from 2012-2016. She is the assistant manager at Zales and also tutors homeschooled students. She has been a tutor since 2008 and feels that God has given her a talent and heart for caring for His children. Erin is also the founder and coach of our GCC softball team, "The Avengers." Erin is always smiling and will tell you that Jesus is the reason for her joy.
Marlene Ferreira is our Director of Pastoral Care. She came to GCC in 2002 and led a small group for a few years until she became full time care giver for two of our elderly members. Marlene obtained her Bachelor's in Theology (BA) part time while working as a teller in a bank and she obtained her Advanced Bachelor's in Theology (BTh) full time while at seminary. Both degrees were obtained at the University of the Free State in South Africa from 1985 to 1993. She was ordained and licensed as a pastor in South Africa in 1995 where she pastored for 2 years. As a senior leader, she had oversight of an elderly care center and provided pastoral care for the congregation. Because of her South African accent, her friends are convinced that she talks funny.
Jeff Ell is our former lead pastor (2002-2016) and current teaching pastor. Jeff is a graduate of Elim Bible Institute and the State University of New York. He and his wife Deneen founded River of Life Fellowship in Copenhagen, NY. Jeff and Deneen were married in 1984 and have three daughters and four grandchildren. In 2016 Jeff and Deneen felt called to plant a church Richmond, VA. North City Church is GCC’s first church plant. Jeff will remain on as an elder and continue to preach and teach in Roanoke on occasion.
Tobi Somorin is the Administrative Coordinator at GCC. She and her husband Olu originally hail from beautiful Nigeria. They were married in 2006 and have two sons, Eri and Ari. She is constantly amazed by God's awesome grace. Her favorite thing to do is watch the boys play together.
Debbie Ruffin is the pastoral assistant at GCC and also serves as a counselor. Debbie obtained her bachelors degree in Psychology from Arcadia University (formerly Beaver College) and masters degree in Counseling and Human Relations from Villanova University. She and her husband Richard married in 1994 after meeting at Beaver College, and have two daughters and a son.
Ryan Bushkar is a young worship leader with a passion for the heart of God. He is currently in the biomedical sciences program at Virginia Western Community College. He and his wife Sarah married in 2014 after realizing they were both totally awesome.
David Viera is the deacon of the Left-hand Fund. This ministry provides financial assistance to members of the church and the community. He and his wife Kathy moved with their three children from Miami to Salem in 2002 looking for a better place to raise their family. They have been members of GCC since 2005.
Clif Burcham is the deacon of Giving. He has been a part of GCC since 2004 and has been married to his wife Leigh Ann since 1996. He enjoys spending time with his wife and son and enjoys spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors. Clif has worked for a family-owned local retailer for over 24 years.
Cindy Pugh is the deaconess of Missions. She worked as a Registered Nurse for 31 years at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Cindy and her husband Rusty reside in Roanoke, VA. They have a son, daughter, and 2 grandsons in Pittsburg, PA.
Rusty Pugh is an elder at GCC. He has been on staff at churches in Maine and Tennessee. He also has a background in music ministry and has been involved with various music projects over the last 25 years. Rusty and his wife Cindy married in 1997 and reside in downtown Roanoke.
Jim Tarter is an elder at GCC. Jim met God in 1972 as a young, agnostic Ph.D. physicist. He was captivated by the authenticity of Jesus and the vibrant truth of the Gospel shown through the Bible. Jim moved to Roanoke in 1978 and joined GCC in 1986. He has taught in public schools since 1976, and has written numerous books about the Bible. Jim and his wife Nita go on mission trips as often as possible.