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Our Pastor

Pastor Connie Thomson is the pastor at River of Grace, and she's pretty excited about the new beginning going on for all of us. Pastor Connie is a self-proclaimed "Jesus Freak," and she means that in the fun, light-hearted and beautiful sense of the word. She really loves the life and the lessons God taught us through the person of Jesus. She has a way of bringing life and faith together, and of inviting other people to do a lot of that, too. She's not very good at small talk, and people have been known to get out of their comfort zones when she's around; but she does it all, she says, because she loves God and she loves people, and she believes that we're all better off when we recognize that God is up to something holy and wonderful in each person's life. She's also got a pretty goofy sense of humor, and she's not afraid to use it. The best way to get to know her is to stop by the church some day or come and worship with us on Sundays. She'll notice that you're there, and she'll be glad about it.

But Who is She?

Pastor Connie spent almost all of the first 18 years of her life in Fairfax and Annandale, and when she graduated from Oakton High School in 1985 she headed for college in Columbus, Ohio. She graduated from Capital University in 1989 and went straight to seminary at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She graduated in 1993 with a Masters in Divinity, and went on to serve two congregations consecutively in Madison, Wisconsin before she accepted a call to start a brand new congregation in a suburb of Indianapolis, New Joy Lutheran Church, in 1999. In March of 2012 she accepted the call to help the people of what was formerly known as Christus Victor Lutheran Church forge a new identity and ministry in the Manassas area, and with lots of prayer and conversations with folks, she named our church River of Grace. A river is always changing, she says, and at the same time, God's grace is always abundant. It shapes and changes our lives, all for the beauty of the world around us.

Pastor Connie and her twin daughters live in Manassas. Living nearby are her parents, her only brother, a couple of nieces, and her very first great-niece. They live in Gainesville and Clifton, so moving back to this part of the world was really a "coming home" for her. She's become reacquainted with lots of old friends and looks forward to what the future brings back home in northern Virginia. 

Our Leaders

We have a dynamic group of leaders

in our Church Council and Ministry Teams

  • PETER Bonnano

    Council Secretary

    I am Peter Bonanno from Darien, Connecticut and now Manassas, Virginia, with stops throughout the heartland of our country courtesy of my career in the Air Force, in between. My spiritual journey at River of Grace has been a true blessing to me and my family. My relationship with Boy Scout Troop 43 brought me to River of Grace several years ago. I was inspired to actually join the church because Pastor Connie ministered to me during some tough times in my life. Her loving spirit sustains my faith and inspires my service to our church. The fulfillment of serving on the council, playing in the River Rising Band and the friends my wife Gretchen and I have made here at River of Grace have enriched our spirit and brought us closer to scripture and our Lord. Our 2017 way ahead, I believe, with the plan our council has put together for the coming year, has RoG on a path for us to touch lives in our community, help us minister more effectively to each other, and put us on a pathway to financial independence. I very much want to serve our congregation and our pastor as we begin our 2017 journey. 

  • Amanda Miller


  • Chuck Brown

    Council Member

    Building and Maintenance Lead

    I’m Chuck Brown. I was born in New Jersey, but have mostly lived in Northern Virginia. I work as the owner of a building permit business, servicing most of the big housing builders in N. Va. My hobbies are, playing the drums in a rock band, metal detecting for civil war relics and fishing.

    Two years ago my family and I were seeking a new church. A friend of ours who was a member at River of Grace suggested we try there. The first service we attended we were hooked! We felt nothing but loved, welcomed and a great since of belonging. I enjoy helping and servicing the church any way I can and will be very proud and dedicated to serve on the council.

  • Jennifer Kuendel

    Church Council member-at-large

    Hi there, I'm Jennifer Kuendel, usually go by Jenn. I am married to my wonderful husband, Scott Kuendel. Together, we have our daughter, Charlotte who is 2.5 years old... going on thirteen. Scott and I were born and raised in Woodbridge, VA and Charlotte will be also. We found River of Grace about 2 years ago when looking for a church to get married in. So, we attended service one Sunday and instantly felt at home. Needless to say, we got married at the church and have been coming ever since! When Pastor Connie approached me about this role, I was excited and honored to know I would be a part of something so important, but most of all fun and uplifting! I love planning events and taking care of all the details that are involved (especially the crafty ones)! I look forward to taking on this role and working with others to bring on an exciting year for River of Grace! 

  • Bryan Lybarger

    Council President