Ghent United Methodist Church was established in 1902 by the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Two church buildings preceded our current sanctuary which was built in 1921. Our education building was added in 1925. Ghent United Methodist Preschool (GUMP) opened its doors in 1992 as a Mother’s Morning Out program and a mission of Ghent United Methodist Church. By 1994, GUMP had blossomed into a half-day preschool for young families, incorporating the philosophy of fun-based learning to serve our community ever since. In 2015, our church was selected to be the recipient of grants from our Conference and the Elizabeth River District of The United Methodist Church as part of a church revitalization project. Under the leadership of our lead pastor, Rev. Melody P. Tanner, we are employing innovative ways to serve in and alongside the Ghent community, focusing our efforts on reaching young families through inspiring worship, transformative small group experiences, life-changing mission work, and bridge-building fellowship/faith-sharing opportunities; all of this offered with a welcoming and loving spirit.
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Meet our staff
Rev. Melody Tanner
Rev. Melody Tanner
An ordained elder, Melody is passionate about sharing her faith with mature and new Christians alike, those who have left the church, and those who don't yet know Jesus. Together with the people of Ghent UMC, she seeks to rethink how we “do church”. She is a graduate of VCU and Wesley Theological Seminary.
Rev. John Shappell
Rev. John Shappell
John is a retired elder, having served 4 churches in the Hampton Roads area during his 25 year career. He spent many years volunteering as a police chaplain and hospital chaplain, and has extensive experience in pastoral counseling and in jail and prison ministry.
Joan has served in church music ministry for many years. Her passion for music began in childhood when she was classically trained on the piano, and continued in later years on the organ. She counts it a privilege to serve the Lord God in music at Ghent UMC. Joan is a graduate of Asbury University.
Betty has been our preschool director since May 1997. She has worked in early childhood education for the past 43 years as a teacher, director, and parent educator while serving on many State and local early childhood organizations. "Once a GUMP kid, always a GUMP kid..."
Jonathan has a special passion for relating the Bible and its concepts to everyday life and sharing Jesus with those unsure of his relevance in the 21st century. He received his Bachelor's degree in Economics from VA Tech and Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary.
Lisa has been an active member of our congregation for 12 years, and has been working in the church office for 4 years. She comes to us with a background in Social Work, and looks for ways to share the compassion and helping hand of Christ while doing her work in the church office.
Dawn gave her life to Christ at a young age and has always been a member of a church. Having worn many hats over the years, she understands the needs of a church and is happy to be a part of our team.
Stephanie is a sophomore at Old Dominion University, majoring in Parks and Recreation Management with a minor in Public Service. She is hoping to work with the State Park System when she graduates. She is originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia where she attended Antioch United Methodist Church.
Grace Bonnewell was born and raised in Norfolk, and attends Ghent UMC. She recently graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Criminology, Law & Society, with a concentration in Criminal Justice.