Pastor: Nelson Harris
Nelson Harris, a native of Roanoke, VA , has been the pastor of Heights Community Church since 1999, having previously served two other churches as minister. Interestingly, HCC is the church where he grew up and now considers it a privilege to be “back home” serving a congregation that has meant so much to him in his life. A graduate of Patrick Henry High School, Nelson attended Radford University where he graduated with a degree in Political Science (B.A., cum laude). He then attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC and graduated in December of 1989 (M. Div.). He also has done post-graduate study at Princeton Theological Seminary and with Harvard University. In addition to his pastoral duties, he is an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Western Community College where he teaches in the areas of religion and philosophy . He is also a published author, having written for several religious publications (Growing Churches, The Student, Living with Teenagers, The Deacon, The Religious Herald, Church Administration)and now is the author of nine books on the region’s history (Roanoke in Vintage Postcards, Virginia Tech, Roanoke: Then & Now, to name a few) . His various essays have been aired on public radio, WVTF.
Associate Pastor of Young Adults/Families and Outreach
David Miller grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia, but has lived in Roanoke since 1997. David, his wife Betsy and their three children call Roanoke home. He attended Virginia Tech where he received his BA in Liberal Arts in 1987 and later returned to college where he received a BS in Christian Ministry from Bluefield College in 2000. David served as a Youth Minister at a Baptist church in the Roanoke Valley for five and a half years and has also served as an interim pastor at a local church for 14 months. David has a passion to serve God and enjoys teaching young adults in a weekly Sunday small group. David joined the Heights staff in January 2016.
Children’s Director: Missy Light
Missy is a native of Roanoke and a graduate of Virginia Tech in 2004 with bachelors degrees in Political Science and English. She teaches preschool at Kingdom Kids at Melrose Baptist Church and loves children. She also runs a non-profit organization for her son called the Wonder Bear Project where she and her son collect and deliver teddy bears to children in need of cheering up at the Ronald McDonald House, Carilion Children's Hospital, The Rescue Mission, victims of natural disasters, Matthew's Child and other organizations in the Roanke Valley. Missy is the mom of an amazing, God-loving six year old son, Alex, and a wife to an awesome man and great husband, Jason. She has a passion for serving others and serving the Lord. She loves to share God's word and love with any and everyone she comes across. Her most treasured part of life is to have the opportunity to instill love of others and love for our Lord in children and watch them grow through it. She is very creative and energetic and loves working with the Kidz of Heights Community Church.
Organist/Choir Director: Melia Garber
Melia Garber holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Tennessee and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from West University of Timisoara, Romania.
A native of Romania, Mrs. Garber has won numerous piano competitions, including first prize at the prestigious International Piano Competition in San-Bartholomeo, Italy. She also won MTNA competitions in piano at the state and regional levels and won the Concerto Competition while at the University of Tennessee playing the Liszt Piano Concerto in E-flat Major. Mrs. Garber has performed concertos by Bach, Mozart, Liszt and Grieg with the Philharmonic Orchestra of “Banatul” Timisoara, Romania. She also premiered the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Ryan Garber in 2005 with the Salem Choral Society. She has been the choir director, pianist and organist at Heights Community Church since 2009, and the accompanist for The Chorus of the Blue Ridge. She has been a lecturer in Piano at Hollins University since 2001.
Melia has enjoyed church music all of her life and believes music deeply contributes to the worship experience ad spiritual growth of a congregation. Melia leads a diverse music ministry at Heights Community Church, consisting of a praise choir, praise ensemble, ladies quartet, and youth and children’s groups. She regularly involves special soloists and guest instrumentalists as a part of the church’s overall music program.
Administrator: Fred Cox