Dr. Joe Bono - Joe and his wife Irma moved to Roanoke and joined Grace Church (GC) in 1972. Joe was born, raised and trained as a General Surgeon in NY City and is now retired after 25 years of practice in Roanoke. Joe & Irma have been married for over 50 years, have 3 married daughters ( all raised in GC) who have established Christian homes and have given them 11 grandchildren. Joe's passion in his Christian walk is evangelism. He has served on the Missions Team ( now the Evangelism Leadership Team) at GC for many years. He has participated in 6 Medical Mission projects in the Dominican Republic accompanied by his wife and daughters, as well as young people from GC on various trips. With Child Evangelism Fellowship, he has taught Good News Clubs, and served on the Roanoke Valley leadership committee as a member and chairman. He was the Baseball Chapel Leader for the Salem professional minor league baseball team for over 30 years. As an Elder at GC, shepherding " the flock" with other Elders brings the most joy and thanksgiving to the glory of God in Joe's life.
Don Browning - Don was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Georgia State University. His job with the railroad was relocated from Atlanta to Roanoke in 1987. He and his wife Deborah have attended Grace Church since that time. They have four grown children and recently celebrated forty-five years of marriage. Although Don had attended church his whole life he didn't trust Christ as savior until he was nineteen years old. At that time, God made him a new creature in Christ and his journey in grace began--a journey that amazes and humbles him with every new day. Don has served as an Elder for more than fifteen years and previously served several terms as a Deacon. He retired from Norfolk Southern in 2011.
Stephen Escalera - Stephen grew up in Great Britain where his parents served as missionaries to United States military personnel. Although raised in a Christian home, his personal relationship and walk with Jesus began in 1990 at the age of 14. He graduated in 1999 from Pensacola Christian College with a B.S. in Business Management and earned a Master in Business Administration degree from Liberty University in 2006.
Russell Knouff - Russell and Betty were married at Grace Church in 1981 and are the parents of twin adult sons, Ben and Philip, and a teenage daughter, Abbey. Russell was introduced to the gospel through the Christian school he was attending and was graciously saved by Christ as a young boy. He has been attending Grace Church since 1968 and has been involved in youth, teaching, preaching, and small group ministries. He has served as a deacon and has been serving as an elder since 1981. He was involved in a joint church effort with Trinity Church in planting Covenant Fellowship in Moneta, Virginia. He was attracted to Grace Church by its expository preaching, Reformed faith and its Christ-centered approach to ministry. He has been employed by a local furniture manufacturer for over 40 years. He also enjoys reading, sports, and spending time with his family.
George Studtmann - George is from Mt. Prospect, IL, a suburb of Chicago and grew up in a very loving family. He has two brothers and one sister. After High School, he attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN where he studied electrical engineering.
Although he grew up in a church and always believed in God as creator, he never struggled with his own sin and a need for a savior until he went to college. Through relationships with several dear Christian families and godly men at the school, the Lord led George to faith in Jesus Christ. His experience with these saints at Purdue often reminds him that the Lord most often uses friendship and acts of kindness to “bring the good news “ of Jesus to the lost.
In the Fall of 1988, George moved to Roanoke, VA to work for the integrated circuits division of ITT. He enjoyed a wonderful career with this company until it’s closure in the summer of 2014. He now teaches engineering at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke, VA.
The Lord brought George to Grace Church in late 1989 where he has been a member since the early 1990s. George met and married his soul mate Debbie Holley at Grace in 1992 and they have 3 children Kyle, Carleigh, and Emma. In addition to his service as an elder, George enjoys sports and model railroad trains.
One of George’s favorite verses recommended to him by a former Pastor is 1 Timothy 6:6 “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” It has helped to keep him grounded.
Jeremy Yoder - Jeremy grew up in Florida, but often visited the Blue Ridge Mountains during summer vacations. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and of Old Dominion University. Jeremy is blessed to have Christian parents who introduced him to Jesus as a child. He learned he couldn't please God on his own – that he needed to trust only in Jesus’ righteousness. He and his wife first visited Grace Church when they were planning to move to Roanoke from Florida. They became members in 2009. In addition to serving as an elder at Grace Church, Jeremy enjoys teaching Sunday school and working as an engineer for a concrete precast company. Jeremy has been married to Magdalena for nine years. Their three boys Kiran, Seth and Sean keep them very busy.
“I’m so grateful God has brought us to a caring church that keeps the Gospel central.”
“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”