Our leaders

The staff and leadership here at Mill City Church is comprised of men and women who love, care and pray for every single person in the church. If you have any questions for any of our staff, feel free to reach out and email them. You can contact the church office at millcitychurch@gmail.com.

  • Chris James


    Chris has lived in Lowell for seventeen years serving as a campus minister at UMass Lowell and founding pastor of Mill City Church. His primary responsibilities at Mill City involve the visioning and leadership training in the church as well as the weekly teaching during Sunday morning worship gatherings. He holds degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi (B.A. in Music) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.). Chris is a frequent speaker at collegiate events across the country and is the author of Commit: Releasing the Hold of Reluctance and the forthcoming Intentional: How the Gospel Transforms the Way we Date, Relate, and Marry (Spring, 2019). An avid baseball fan, he has watched a game at every Major League Baseball stadium. Contact Chris at Chris_James@uml.edu.

  • Joe Lowey

    Lay Elder

    Joe is a Massachusetts native who graduated from UMASS Lowell in 2008 with a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Sound Recording. He has been with Mill City Church since its inception, and now lives with his wife and son in their home in Lowell. Currently, he is a production manager for sports television trucks at Game Creek Video based in Hudson, NH. On Sunday's Joe can be found behind the drums with the worship band or running the technical equipment in the back of the church. During the week he and his wife lead a community group in their home and enjoy having people from the church over for dinner. He loves anything to do with the NFL (especially the Patriots), comedy, and music. Contact Joe at joe.lowey@gmail.com.

  • Topper villafana

    lay elder

    “Topper” (Sebastian) Villafana has been at Mill City Church since moving to Lowell in 2013 from the Seattle area.  He graduated from the University of Washington (GO DAWGS!) with a B.A. in Russian Language & History.  Topper has served as a campus minister as well as a church administrator, and has been part of church plant team in the Northwest prior to moving to New England.  He has been a part of and has led several mission trips and has a passion for helping others to engage globally with the gospel.  Topper currently works at a transportation software development company here in Lowell. While at the UW, he played saxophone in the Husky Marching Band, so he bleeds purple and gold and is an avid college football fan.  You can reach Topper at topuwk9@gmail.com.

  • Santiago Paredes

    Lay Elder

    Santiago (Santi) Paredes grew up in the Greater Lowell Area and graduated from UMASS Lowell with a degree in Computer Science. Santi learned and responded to the gospel in 2014 during his time as a student within Christian Student Fellowship at UMASS Lowell. Since then, he has committed himself to reciprocating the investment he recieved with students and locals in the area. Santi and his wife Alicia both work as full-time professionals in their respective industries, and enjoy hobbies like playing music and baking throughout the week.

  • Josh Lin

    Lead worshipper

    Josh started attending Mill City Church in 2011 when he entered his freshman year at UMass Lowell. Over the years he developed a deep love for the city and his church family. Josh grew up in the Greater Lowell area and currently works as an instructor at a local martial arts school. In his free time, Josh enjoys songwriting, watching movies, and eating. Josh and his wife, Hannah, live in Lowell. Contact Josh at josh.lin.93@gmail.com.

  • Sean Hays


    Sean plugged into campus ministry through Christian Student Fellowship and caught a vision for making disciples of younger guys, using music to help the church sing, and loving his city through the local church body of Mill City Church. Since graduating from UMASS Lowell in Fall 2016 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, he has planted himself in Lowell and works as a manufacturing engineer making medical balloons. Sean loves skiing, game nights and indiscriminately eating baked goods. Sean can be reached at sphays@verizon.net.

  • Hannah beato

    Children's director

    Hannah has lived in the area her whole life, graduated from UML in 2016 with a Masters in Environmental Biology, and works as an Environmental Planner for VHB in Watertown. Since 2014, Mill City Church has been her home church. She now serves as the director of Mill City Kids, and is committed to serving and loving the families of the Body of Christ. Hannah, her husband Adrian, and their dog Oliver live in Lawrence, MA. She enjoys cooking and dancing (sometimes simultaneously) with Adrian, any and all things related to gardening, and hiking. Contact Hannah at HannahBeato6@gmail.com.

  • Mia Parviainen


    Mia attended UMass Lowell, where she completed a B.A. in English (2007) and an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction (2008). After graduating, she joined a nascent Mill City Church, became a full-time resident of the city, and started teaching high school English. She enjoys reading, trying new recipes, going on adventures, crocheting, and relaxing with a cup of tea. Contact Mia at mia.parviainen@gmail.com.

  • Marissa Beato

    First Impressions

    Marissa was born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts. She studied Early Childhood Education and Interpersonal Communication at Merrimack College and graduated in 2014. During her undergraduate years, she got connected with and involved in Christian Student Fellowship at UMASS Lowell and Mill City Church. Currently, she works as a kindergarten teacher in Methuen, MA and is finishing her Reading Specialist M. Ed. Marissa and her husband, Eduardo, have been residing in Lowell and members of Mill City Church for four years now. She has a passion for being the hands and feet of Jesus through simple acts of hospitality.  Marissa enjoys movies, event planning,  giraffes, and anything pink. Contact Marissa at marissambeato@gmail.com.

  • Robbie Merkosky

    Media Director

    Robbie has served Mill City Church since 2012. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a B.S. in Computer Science. He enjoys anything to do with media (photography, videography, music production, web design, etc.). He’s an outdoorsman and hikes whenever he can get outside. Contact Robbie at robbie@millcitychurch.net.