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.
Blaire Liechty-Johns is a native of Roanoke, VA. She left Roanoke for a few years to pursue an Early Childhood Education degree from The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. Upon graduating, Blaire returned to Roanoke and has worked with children for several years. Blaire is the mother to son, Kaden, and wife to Travis. She has a desire to teach children about the love of Jesus and help them grow in their child-like faith.
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.
Jennifer Tomlin grew up in Grundy, VA, and has lived in the area since 1997. A graduate of Radford University (cum laude, 1990), she has been a stay – at – home mom since the birth of her son.
Jennifer is married to Todd, and they have a son, Philip. Jennifer previously worked in the healthcare industry and in administration for public schools. She is also an active school volunteer! Jennifer loves working with the people here at HCC.