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Our Staff

Meet our pastors and staff!

Gateway Staff

Say hello to to the leadership team at Gateway. We are excited to get to know you and to serve you. Have questions for us? Feel free to get in touch.

Ed Allen - Lead Pastor

Hi, I’m Ed and I’m the Lead Pastor at Gateway. I love to talk to people about faith, and I love to create places where people can genuinely connect with one another and with God. I grew up in South Carolina and met my beautiful wife, Diane, while I was teaching school in North Carolina. We’ve lived in Northern Virginia for more than 20 years and have grown to love the place dearly. In my spare time, I like to discuss with my three grown children the best shows on Netflix and why Micheal Jordan is better than LeBron James.

Alex York - Associate Pastor

I’m Alex, the Associate Pastor here at Gateway. My role has blessed me with the opportunity to work with almost every area of ministry here, and I love being able to support and encourage people as they invest in their church family and their community. I grew up in Richmond, but have clear childhood memories of the community where Gateway is located because it was a regular gas stop on the way to my grandmother’s house. I met my wife, Jill, in Texas, where we did college and seminary, and started ministry and family. Both of our kids are grown now (one in Tennessee and one in California). I’ve served in Northern Virginia churches since 1992 and have been at Gateway since 2011.

Michele Bowden - Director of Groups

Hello friends! I’m Michele Bowden, and I’m the Groups Director here at Gateway. It’s my job to help you connect in one of the many small groups here at Gateway. Actually, I have been in small groups my whole life, long before I became a Christian. I even met my husband, Tim, in a small group at Rollins College more than 20 years ago. Our kids, Isaac and Audrey were raised in small groups too!

Ask me about some of my most unique groups and I want to hear about the ones you’ve participated in. You may find me among the creatives, or the bookworms, or the outdoorsy, or even with the foodies. But, you will undoubtably find me among the people!

Heather Dajani - KidzTown Director (Interim)

Hi there, I'm Heather and I am currently serving as the Director of Elementary Childhood Ministries. Gateway has always considered the ministry to children as important and so do I! I grew up in Canada, but have lived here in Virginia since college. My husband Jeff and I have 3 children and they've all grown up since I was last on staff. Casey is married to Sara and they live in Knoxville, TN. Josh is married to Mackenzie and they live in Alexandria, VA. And our little baby is all grown up! Amy is almost 16 and in her sophomore year of high school. The thing I love to do most, is to hang out with all of them!

Kristyn Cole - Elementary KidzTown Coordinator

Hi friends! My name is Mrs. Kristyn and I am the Elementary KidzTown Coordinator at Gateway. I love creating hands-on biblical lessons that make real-life connections for children and draw them closer to God. A Northern Virginia native, I grew up in Oakton, Virginia, and then got my Masters in Education at George Mason University. Ten years ago, my husband and I moved to Little River Commons and every day, we drove past an enormous sign that said: "Gateway Community Church Coming Soon." God's timing never fails because in 2017, just as the building opened, our family was ready to leave our beloved church in search of a place of worship closer to home so we could have a more authentic community with our neighbors. You might even see us biking or rollerblading to Gateway events! I am a mom of four, so I am fluent in messy and loud, but I have learned to seek Jesus in all the chaos. I am passionate about empowering and equipping families to connect in community and grow as their child's primary biblical teacher. In my free time, I love to hike the mountain trails, read historical fiction, and play strategy games like Catan and Dominion. God is on the move in KidzTown, so grab your shoes and let's run the race together! 

Deanna Miller - Early Childhood KidzTown Coordinator

Hi there! My name is Deanna and I am the Early Childhood Ministry Coordinator. I grew up in a Christian family where Christ was at the center of everything and was taught that it is always a blessing to serve the Lord! It was at a young age and by serving that I discovered my heart for children. I have loved working with children through the years and seeing God work in their lives! God had recently tugged on my heart to step into a bigger role at Gateway. I didn’t really know where, but He cleared a path and made a way! I was born in South Carolina and moved to Chantilly, Virginia after a few years in Italy. My husband Jeremiah and I have two wonderful children who give us lots of exercise. I find a lot of joy in computer programming, knitting, and playing board games.

Jenn Jeffords - Youth Coordinator

Hi, my name is Jenn and I am the Youth Coordinator at Gateway. I have always had a heart for youth and I think it is critical that we send our students out into the "real world" as fully prepared and armored as we can. I grew up in Colorado and have lived all over the country. My family and I moved to the area in 2018 and have been attending Gateway since then. Speaking of my family, I have been married to Jake since 2003 and we have two amazing kids plus we are lucky enough to have my mom, Cathy, living with us.  

Jordan Allen - Worship & Creative Arts Director

Hey there, I'm Jordan and I've been coming to Gateway since it started—more than 20 years ago! I was born in Massachusetts and moved to Virginia in my childhood to help plant this church. I play guitar and sometimes piano (if you count the Titanic theme song). I've been leading worship since my days in Gateway's youth group, and was shaped through my time in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at the University of Virginia. Before joining the Gateway staff, I worked for more than a decade in the software consulting industry. I enjoy Boston sports, playing games with my parents and two brothers, traveling the world, and downing entire bags of Swedish Fish.

Rhonda Jessop - Pastor's Assistant

Rhonda Jessop here! I am Pastor Ed's Assistant and have been serving in this role since 2013. I support the Lead Pastor, and I try to lend a hand in other areas when I can. My husband and I started attending Gateway in 2001, so we've been around a while and have been blessed to see how much Gateway has grown and impacted the community. I'm one of those rare finds as I have lived in Northern Virginia all my life so lots of family and friends keep me busy. We have three grown children and two awesome dogs (Goose and Scout). 

Gina Apperson - Director of Communications

Hi, I’m Gina, a designer and writer, who loves Jesus and creativity. I’m the Director of Communications at Gateway, and I’m so happy to serve here! I grew up in Ashburn and first came to Gateway in 2011, and I joined the staff in 2018. Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to help Gateway spread the message of Jesus through a variety of outlets, lead a small group and help with mission trips to Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Most days, you can find me sipping on a smoothie, editing videos, updating websites, or having game nights or paint nights with friends. 

Gloria Melo, Missions Team Leader

Hi there! I’m Gloria Melo, and I lead the missions team here at Gateway. I was first called to missions while I was on a mission trip to Mexico in 1998. At the time, I thought I was only there to interpret, but God had different plans in store for me, and I have never been so thankful to have answered a call. I’m originally from Puerto Rico, but I’ve spent time in Southeast Louisiana, where I graduated from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Upstate South Carolina, where I met my husband, Justin. My husband, my four beautiful children, and I have been in Northern Virginia for a short while, but God has been preparing to

grow my calling since we arrived, and we are excited to see where this opportunity takes us. I love volleyball, singing, and playing obnoxious board games, and in my free time you will find me baking and decorating cookies. If you see me around, don’t hesitate to reach out and say hi, and if you’re curious about missions, I’m always excited and ready to share!

Crystal Cline, Business Manager

Hello! I’m Crystal and I’m the Business Manager for both Gateway Church and Gateway Village Children’s Center. I guess you could say I handle all the things no one else wants to do... Most of my career has been spent in the financial and consulting industries, so I feel very blessed to get to serve Gateway in a similar capacity. My husband and I have been a part of Gateway for more than 20 years, so that definitely makes us some of the “long-timers” (please notice that I said “long” NOT “old”). Our hobbies include watching sports (especially baseball - Go Nats!), chihuahuas, and of late… lots and lots of jigsaw puzzles.  

Jennifer Wing - Systems Coordinator

Hi! I’m Jennifer and I’m the Systems Coordinator at Gateway. We’ve been attending Gateway since 2017. I’ve spent my career serving nonprofits as an accountant (you may think it’s impossible to feel passionate about accounting, but in the words of my much younger self, “I’m passionate about nonprofit accounting.”). God’s plans for my life have been much different than my plans, but in seasons of tough health challenges, I’ve learned to trust Him more deeply and to recognize that my limitations are often divine redirection. These days, I love helping people connect to Gateway and plug-in – and making sure we have the systems and policies in place so we love people well.

I have been married for 10 years to an engineer that can cook (not sure how I got that lucky!) and we have a young son. In our free time, we pretend to be dinosaurs, build castle tents, read endless stories, fix gazillions of meals that match up to everyone’s allergies, drink any and all coffee, and invent blender ice cream.

Rebekah Beacher, Special Projects Coordinator

Hey! I'm Rebekah, and I'm the special projects coordinator here at Gateway! I do a little bit of everything from website updates, running background checks, communication support, and other tasks. I love being able to support our awesome Gateway staff.  

I've lived in the NOVA area for 25 years, 13 of those years in the South Riding area! I'm a mom to two of the best kids on the planet and a proud wife to Andy. In my first career, I was a third-grade teacher for 13 years but "retired" when our first child was born. I enjoy spending time with my family, binge-watching tv shows with my husband, shopping, going out to eat, and relaxing with friends!

Lee Spears - Facilities Director

I'm Lee and I've been serving as the Facilities Director since 2017. My wife and I have been attending Gateway since 2006. I worked 32 years at the Postal Service and always wanted to serve in my church in retirement. Dreams do come true! I love to serve the people and staff at Gateway and make sure they have what they need for all of the various ministries. My beautiful wife Yvonne and I have five kids between us and six grandkids. I enjoy the outdoors, camping and riding our bikes. I look forward to each and every day to help and make welcome whoever comes through our doors.

Sarah Morris - Accounting Assistant

Hi Everyone! I'm Sarah Morris, the Accounting Assistant at Gateway. I work closely with Crystal Cline assisting with accounting duties for both Gateway Community Church and Gateway Village Children's Center. I'm originally from New Orleans, LA, and grew up in a beautiful little beach town of Waveland, MS. I truly believe in the motto 'you are here for a reason," and I'm so very grateful to work with such a great church family. My husband, Freddie, and I have a teenage daughter, Ella, and a 1-year-old miniature Australian Shepherd furbaby named Dazie. When we are not traveling to the Gulf Coast to visit family and friends, we love visiting theme parks...especially Disney & Universal in Orlando. We love exploring all the wonderful parks and hiking trails in Virginia, too.