The Rev. Melana Nelson-Amaker grew up in a family of educators in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, and was baptized at a young age in the Episcopal Church. The first decades of her life included a lot of poetry, dance and theater. She has a degree in Professional Writing from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Masters of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and was ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. She has served churches in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland. She also worked for the African-American Episcopal Historical at Virginia Theological Seminary and has served as a spiritual director and congregational development consultant.

Rev. Nelson-Amaker loves worship, and calls prayer the heart of her life. When asked about what’s central to her vocation she says ”helping Christians of all ages and stages of faith to grow; and reminding people to pray about anything and everything”.

Pastor Melana is very glad for the call of God to St. Christopher’s Church. It is a particularly good match in terms of cultural diversity; vibrancy of worship; room to build up the life of the congregation; the large contingent of youth; and fresh outreach opportunities.

Profoundly grateful for her loving nuclear family: her husband Derek, and her adult son, daughter, and son-in-law; and for Christian friends and prayer partners she’s had for many years, she prays that that love will “spill over into the lives of others”.

Pastor Melana likes world travel and has visited Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Canada, England, Uganda, Kenya, France, South Africa, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Tanzania and Jamaica.


Favorite books: The Bible, The Count of Monte Cristo; Toni Morrison novels; Peace Like a River


Favorite food: whole grain pasta with spinach and chicken


Biggest challenge: trying to be neat; constructively engaging criticism


Greatest excitement: watching God work; being part of it


Frequent pleasures: time spent with my husband; family dinners with our son, daughter and son-in-law; talking and praying with my closest circle of friends


Favorite music: contemporary praise, worship and gospel; full band R&B; some traditional spirituals and hymns


Favorite Bible stories: Elijah on Mount Carmel; disciples meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus


Passions: growing in God; healthy families; respecting the dignity of all human beings


Go-to relaxation: reading fiction


Things I wish I did more of: dancing, putting things away, riding my bike, scholarly reading

Much of my non-work time is spent: talking to my spouse, praying; reading the Washington Post online


Impact God has had on me: helping me to forgive myself and others; making me a loving person; healing my soul’s wounds; giving me strength and peace; equipping me for ministry


Pastimes: collecting artwork, travel, baking, organic gardening


Music Minister

Howard Nelson-Williams was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone where he grew up. He discovered his love for music as a child. He started studying the piano under Raymond Wright and later continued his piano studies at the Ballanta Academy of Music, Freetown, Sierra Leone. He was a member of the Academy’s choir - Music Makers - as well as the choir of Wesley Methodist Church, where he also served as Assistant Choirmaster and Senior Assistant Organist for many years. As Music Director of the Wesley Youth Fellowship, Howard produced original musical compositions that became an integral part of annual musical performances. He has previously been a tenor soloist and conductor for several musical productions including Joshua and Handel’s Messiah. In the U.S., Howard has been a guest organist in several churches in Maryland and will be completing his third year as Music Minister at St. Christopher’s in December 2018.


Dr. Nelson-Williams is bi-vocational. He is a graduate of the University of Sierra Leone, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences. After practicing medicine briefly in Sierra Leone, he pursued graduate training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where he obtained a Master of Public Health Degree. Over the years, he has been actively involved in community service and leadership for which he has received international recognition, including an award from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in June 2016. At Johns-Hopkins, Howard has been involved in designing and executing global health projects. He remains committed to promoting public health, strengthening health systems and developing sustainable human resources for healthcare particularly in low and middle income countries.

Priest Associate

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The Reverend Elliott M. Waters was born, baptized and raised in Crisfield located on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore. He received a B.S. degree from Morgan State University. After graduation, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army where he served on active duty with distinction for over 20 years. While serving, he, received leadership and management training at various military schools and earned an M.S. from the University of Southern California. After retirement from the military, he served as a business consultant until responding to a call to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church.


Upon graduation from Virginial Theological Seminary (VTS) in May 2001, Elliott served briefly as a transitional deacon prior to being ordained as a priest in December 2001 from the Diocese of Virginia. He has served in parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington DC. In 2018 he retired from the priesthood. He has elected to continue to fulfill his priestly vows as he is able and where he is invited.  He is canonically resident in the Diocese of Pennsylvania and is licensed to serve in the Diocese of Virginia and Washington DC.


Elliott delights in serving God’s people in God’s church and the world. With the help of the Holy Spirit, he strives to proclaim the good news of the gospel in the way of love according the life and teachings of Jesus Christ to all. Elliott and his wife (Barbara) live in Alexandria, Virginia. They have two adult children.


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The Rev. Ebele Okonkwo Onuigbo was ordained a deacon in November 2020 by Bishop Mariann Budde in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and posted to serve as a deacon in St. Christopher Episcopal Church.  A deacon is an ordained minister of the Episcopal Church called to lead church members in service to the poor, needy and oppressed. Deacons work as a link between the Church and the world, discerning people's needs, hopes, concerns and empowering faith communities to respond. Bishop Mariann has made the work of deacons a priority in our diocese. At services, deacons assist bishops and priests in the liturgy by reading the gospel, inviting the confession, setting the altar for Eucharist, and offering the dismissals.


St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church was her sponsoring church, where she served as the Evangelism Chairperson. In that role, Rev. Ebele mobilized members and went door to door in the community preaching the word and inviting neighbors to participate in worship and programs. She participated in women’s ministries and served as the past president of the Mothers Union and a Sunday School teacher. She is the author of the inspirational book "On the Eagles Wings" and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education and a Master's in Science Management and Leadership. She lives with her two sons in Gaithersburg Maryland. 

The Vestry- our governing board

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Senior Warden
Junior Warden
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Administrative Assistant
2023 Class
2024 Class
2025 Class
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The Vestry Prayer:

May all that we do

Build up your Church,

Benefit your People

and Glorify your Name. AMEN.

Contact the church leaders at the email vestry@stchrispgc.org