After coming to faith in Christ in his late twenties, Mark became a volunteer leader in the junior high youth group at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Louis. He loved it! Soon he was asked to join the staff and lead the junior high group part time while running the computer business he started. In the fall of 1998, after being on staff for a month, his future wife Lesley came on staff with the senior high youth group. They met, fell in love, and were married within a year.
A year later they sold the computer business and Mark became the Youth Director over all the student ministries. He also entered Covenant Theological Seminary. In 2005 he graduated with Masters in Divinity. He and Lesley began praying for the next chapter in their lives – a church planting opportunity which landed them here on the East End.
Mark and Lesley have three daughters and a chocolate lab named Gus. He is an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, enjoys cycling and motorcycling, fishing, and good IPA’s.
Lesley’s parents came to faith in Christ when she was a young child and as a result she was blessed to grow up in a nurturing Christian home and vibrant church. She spent much of her childhood pursuing athletic opportunities and attending church events. In college, she combined her love for the outdoors with her heart for ministry and started a backpacking ministry called Miami Trail Ministries.
After graduating college, she moved on to be a mountaineering guide in Colorado with Young Life. In between guiding seasons, she joined the youth ministry staff at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, where she met her husband, Mark. Lesley and Mark served in the youth ministry at Central for 8 years while Mark also attended Seminary. During that season their three daughters, Grace, Lily, and Ella were born.
In 2006 they took the call and made the move to begin a church planting adventure on the East End of Long Island. Lesley particularly enjoys kids of any age, counseling, outdoor adventures, animals, athletics, good food, and the ocean.
Adriana was born in Brazil and moved to North Carolina with her family when she was 11. She is the youngest of seven kids and enjoys 14 nieces and nephews!
Adriana came to faith her freshman year in college. Upon graduating, she worked with a college ministry in Virginia for four years.
After leaving Virginia, Adriana came to the Hamptons to visit her brother for a month and never left, that was in March of 2010! She fell in love with the vision of Grace Church and in January of 2012, she accepted the position of Ministry Director. She is currently working on her masters in Theological Studies from Covenant Theological Seminary.
Adriana is the proud owner of a red Boston Terrier named Charlie. When she isn’t running around with him, she enjoys spending time with her huge family, playing tennis, traveling and riding her Vespa.
Josh grew up locally, in Riverhead. After studying music and the Bible in college, he spent some time away before returning home. Soon afterward, a friend told him about Grace Church’s need for a music director, and Josh aggressively pursued the position, where he has been serving since January 2010. He married Hannah Faye in 2014. Together they enjoy music, theater, Netflix, food, friends’ dogs, and welcoming people into their home.
Samantha grew up in Sag Harbor and became a Christian when she was 8 years old. Attending a christian summer camp in the Adirondacks, throughout growing up, encouraged and strengthened her faith. During her early teens she often babysat for the children of a Bible study group that was meeting regularly in hopes of starting a church plant. That Bible study evolved into Grace Church, and during high school she began attending GraceGroup.
Samantha went to Houghton College where she studied Psychology, Family Studies, and Education. Upon graduating college in 2014 she was accepted to a Fellows Program (located in Nashville) that focused on integrating faith and work. After the conclusion of that program she remained in Nashville for another year and worked as a Nanny/Personal Assistant, assisting in the ministry of contemporary hymn writers. She is excited to be back home on Long Island and to be a part of the work going on at Grace Church.
Some of Samantha’s favorite things are: learning, adventure, community, time in the kitchen, and game nights.