Melissa was born and raised in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado. She grew up in the PC(USA), was baptized and confirmed in her childhood congregation, and always felt at home in church. Melissa felt the call to ordained ministry in college and was blessed to have opportunities to explore her call to ministry serving alongside church staff in the Presbyterian university ministry at First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Collins, Colorado.
After college, Melissa moved to Austin,TX to attend Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. While living in Austin, Melissa fell in love with Tex-Mex, BBQ, and an Aggie named Jose. Melissa and Jose got married after she graduated and they have two awesome kids- Noah is 6, and in first grade, and Clara is 4. Jose is also a Presbyterian minister and they love being in ministry together.
Before receiving the call to FPC Bel Air, Melissa and Jose were serving as associate pastors of The Presbyterian Church of Traverse City, Michigan. Melissa has also served as a hospital chaplain at Seton Family of Hospitals in Austin, TX, and at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas,TX.
In her free time, Melissa loves being outdoors, hiking, running, going to the beach, and enjoying all of God’s creation. She also loves cheering for all of the Denver sports teams, especially the Broncos, and thanks to Jose, is also a fan of the Texas A&M Aggies and Dallas Cowboys. The Lopez family enjoys movie nights at home, playing at the park, superheroes, and living room dance parties.
Melissa is excited to serve as pastor of First Presbyterian Church. With such a rich and wonderful history of serving the Bel Air community, Melissa looks forward to seeing where God will lead us next, and how we will continue to reach out to our neighbors together in the years to come.
Director of Children's Ministry and Nursery Coordinator
Shelley, a Harford County native, holds degrees in elementary education and Psychology. She has worked in the First Presbyterian Church nursery since 2004 and has helped with Sunday School and the planning of Vacation Bible School. She has been the Director of Children's Ministry since 2017.
Director of Youth Ministry
Lauren joined FPC as the Director of Youth Ministry in 2017. She has experience with a wide range of students from 4 year-olds to 54 year-olds with and without learning disabilities. She enjoys hard work and wants her students to experience success which will go beyond the classroom and continue to their daily and spiritual lives.
Director of Music/Organist
Ruth Howard and Anne Seymour
Handbell Choir Director and Conductor
Ruth Howard has 40 years of Handbell experience having played at both First Presbyterian and Bethel Presbyterian Churches. She became the Handbell Director at First Presbyterian Church in Bel Air in 2004. As Director, she chooses the music, prepares the music for the choir and then teaches the music to the ringers. She also rings with the choir.
Anne Seymour has conducted the Handbell choir since 2004. She comes to rehearsals as the choir approaches their scheduled ringing dates and helps with the fine-tuning of the music.