Our Grove United Methodist Church staff

  • Minister of Grove UMC
  • Trained as a Transition Intentional Interim Ministry Specialist
  • Leadership Coach
  • Loves finding and experiencing God through the created world
  • Passionate about journeying with God's people on their individual and faith journeys
  • Grew up loving Jesus
  • 26 years as a United Methodist Minister
  • MDiv from Duke; DMin from Wesley Theological, DC in Spirituality and Story (doctoral focus in transition ministry)
  • Three guiding principals: Truth, Integrity, and Authenticity
  • Favorite quote: "To tell a story is to speak a world into being"
  • Favorite scripture: "All things work together for good for those who love God who are called according to God's purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Ila Shepisi - Deacon in Residence

  • Girl Mom x 4
  • Girl Scout leader who needs Disney and loves Jesus
  • Passionate about youth ministry and spiritual development
  • Essential oil enthusiast and happy planner
  • Recreational Therapist with a Masters of Theological Studies Degree from Drew Theological Seminary
  • Concentration in camping and retreat ministries
  • 18 years (and counting) experience providing services and programming for people with dementia and their caregivers
  • Dana Elise Watson is the new administrative assistant at Grove UMC. 
  • She was born and raised in Hattiesburg, MS. 
  • She graduated with a Film degree from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2005.
  • Watson recently moved to Christiansburg, VA to be close to her identical twin sister. 
  • She loves watching movies, screenwriting and sewing. 
  • Once quarantine ends, she hopes to wear her historical costumes and attend historical reenactment events again, especially those with English Country dancing.
  • Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia
  • 31 years teaching music and theater arts K – 12 (public and parochial)
  • 19 years as a part-time choir director (various churches)
  • 11 years as a full-time minister of music
  • U.S. Army veteran
  • Ordained to the Gospel Ministry
  • BM in Music Education (University of Georgia)
  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction (University of Northern Colorado)
  • MM in Music Education (Georgia State University)
  • DMA in Church Music (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)
  • Married to Peggy Ann Watkins Borden for 51 years
  • Has two children, Robyn and Benjamin, and five grandsons

Pat Brown - Organist

  • Started playing piano and organ for church services as a teenager
  • Played the organ throughout my life in many churches, but my favorite has been playing at Grove for the past 20-25 years
  • Retired from the Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley
  • Passionately believe in the quest for equal rights for women, bringing us closer to living in a world of peace and justice for all

Libby Watts - Handbell Choir Director

  • At Grove UMC, I love the music ministry, singing in the chancel choir, playing oboe or piano, and directing handbells.
  • Married to my husband, Skip, with three grown children and seven grandchildren
  • Teach chemistry and physical science at Radford University
  • Enjoy walking, biking, and spending time with family all over the country


Jim Harrison - Pianist