GraceCity Baltimore

Church Leadership

Scroll through the leadership directory below to get a sense of the staff and volunteer leadership throughout GraceCity, and to find contacts for anyone you need to get in touch with!

Staff Leadership

  • Corey Barnes - Pastor
  • Bob Bingham - Pastor
  • Kendall Leonard - Minister of Music
  • Lil Gurney - Director of Children's Ministry


  • Shawn Peterson -
  • Brendan O'Brien -
  • Judy O'Brien -
  • Mary Lou Gradisek -
  • Akilah Atkinson -
  • Jack Lee -
  • Sharon Lee - Women's Ministry Director
  • Charlotte Elder -
  • Marianne Waugh -
  • Rick Grindrod - Nicaragua Ministry Coordinator
  • Kristie McManus - HopeSprings Coordinator
  • Christin Hanigan -
  • Nate Scott -
  • Liz Scott -
  • Nick Cienski -
  • Melissa Light -
Corey Barnes - Pastor

Corey Barnes


Corey is the co-Pastor of GraceCity, along with Bob Bingham. Corey, his wife Rashema, and their three children, Stephen, Nathan, and Cory; reside in Baltimore.

Corey is a graduate of Coppin State College with a Masters in Special Education, and is a graduate of the ministry ordination track at the 3000-member First Mt. Olive Baptist Church, where Corey has served as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, and as a member of the ministry leadership. Corey is currently matriculating in the master's degree of church ministries at St. Mary's Seminary.

Prior to coming to GraceCity, Corey served as a Director and the Dean of Students of the NorthBay project, one of the largest initiatives on behalf of underserved children in Maryland history. At NorthBay, Corey provided expertise and leadership in connecting character development programming for youth with an urban background. He provided training in behavior modification and developing a positive peer culture. In addition, Corey served as the NorthBay Live Show host personality and coordinated relationships with the public schools that sent over 10,000 children to NorthBay for a full school week, each year.

Corey taught for 10 years in the Baltimore City Public Schools, primarily at New Song Academy, one of Baltimore City Public School’s New Initiative Schools. For 2 years he served as the Program Coordinator for New Song, where he formed a partnership with Baltimore City Community College, and started G.E.D programs for non-profit organizations. Corey joined the adjunct faculty at Baltimore City Community College.

The call for Corey and Bob to be the founding pastors of GraceCity continues, and is one of the highest honors each of them has ever enjoyed.
Bob Bingham - Pastor

Bob Bingham


Bob Bingham is the co-Pastor of GraceCity, along with Corey Barnes. He is married to Sue, and they have three children in their 20’s…Jess, Sarah, and Cole.

After completing a Masters of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Bob spent the first 15 years of his career with Young Life ministries, ending as the Eastern Division Director of Training. Upon receipt of his Doctorate in Marriage and Family Systems, Bob began a full time practice in family therapy, and a strategic consulting practice with churches and businesses in the mid-Atlantic region. He also maintained an active preaching schedule with area churches, and served as an adjunct faculty member of Eastern University.

More recently, Bob served on the senior executive leadership team for two major senior living (Erickson Retirement Communities and Sunrise Assisted Living) organizations.

On the non-profit side, Bob rolled out the Jammin’ Java project in Vienna ,VA, and then spent 2000-2007 as Managing Director of the Erickson Foundation; where he developed the NorthBay project for Maryland’s neediest children, the largest public/private partnership in Maryland history. NorthBay was historic not only for it’s goals, but as the place where Bob and Corey met and worked together for the first time.

In July of 2007, Bob founded 21st Vision, Inc., to answer the demand for bringing the theory and practice of NorthBay to other educational arenas.

The call for Bob and Corey to be the founding pastors of GraceCity continues, and is one of the highest honors each of them has ever enjoyed.
Kendall Leonard - Minister of Music

Kendall Leonard

Minister of Music

Kendall Leonard is married to Tanya, and has been the minister of music at GraceCity since the very beginning in January of 2009. He guides our unique blend of musical styles, pointing our congregation toward a profound worship of our Father in heaven while reflecting the diversity of our church.

A seasoned musician, Kendall has toured with the best while moving comfortably from one musical genre to another. In past years Kendall toured with Rick James and the Stone City Band, Brian McKnight, The Manhattans, Stevie Woods, and EBBTIDE. His production credits include Mia Miata's Urban Arias, The Choir Boys, Too Intense, Greg Eldridge, Vaughn Mason, and more.

Kendall brings many years of experience as a worship leader, and teaches music in the Baltimore City Schools.
Lil Gurney - Director of Children's Ministry

Lil Gurney

Director of Children's Ministry

In 1996, Lil graduated from James Madison University with a B.S. in Sports Medicine and soon became the head athletic trainer of Covenant College in Chattanooga,TN. Here, Lil discovered a diverse community who passionately pursued God’s heart for the poor. Compelled by God’s grace, Lil switched careers to love and mentor city children. During this season Lil obtained her M.Ed in Elementary Education and served various urban ministries, focusing on reconciliation and breaking cycles of poverty. Since moving to Baltimore in 2009, she married John Crooks and has been empowering the next generation as Children’s Ministry Coordinator of GraceCity and leader in SHARPkids.
Shawn Peterson -

Shawn Peterson

Having accepted the Lord early in life as a member of First Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Shawn—in support of his brother and Co-Pastor Corey Barnes, attended the inaugural service of Grace City in January 2009 and has been in attendance ever since. Shawn has been employed in restaurant management since 1998; he possesses an entrepreneurial spirit and has consulted on various existing and start up restaurants. He resides in the City with his wife- Paula and their children; Shae, Arielle, Joshua, Sydni & Taylor. Being led by the Lord is his desire and following His will is what motivates him to continue to grow in His word.
Brendan O'Brien -

Brendan O'Brien

Brendan lives, works, worships, and plays in the Federal Hill/ Otterbein neighborhoods of downtown Baltimore. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University in 1991, he has embraced city living and, along with his wife Judy, enjoys raising their children in Baltimore with the world at their doorstep. He serves his community as a soccer coach with South Baltimore Youth Soccer League, as a Steering Committee member of the Pratt Contemporaries, Executive Committee member emeritus of the Johns Hopkins University Second Decade Society and Alumni Council, School Family Council member of Federal Hill Preparatory School. He also serves Grace City as a Core Leader and as a co-leader of the Otterbein small group.
Judy O'Brien -

Judy O'Brien

Judy Chung O’Brien has been living in the Federal Hill area since 2000 and enjoys raising her three children with her husband Brendan in downtown Baltimore. Their two older daughters attend the Baltimore City Public School, Federal Hill Preparatory School where GraceCity currently meets for Sunday service. Having been a member of Grace Fellowship Church since 2001, Judy was part of the original team that prayed for many years for Grace to plant a campus in downtown Baltimore and currently serves on the GraceCity Core Leadership team. Along with her husband Brendan, she has been leading the same small group for nearly a decade and also enjoys mentoring other women, young mothers, and young married couples.
Mary Lou Gradisek -

Mary Lou Gradisek

Mary Lou has lived in the Baltimore area since graduating from Hood College in Frederick and moved into the city four years ago. She attended Grace Fellowship Church and felt called to come alongside those who established GraceCity. Mary Lou serves as the administrator for GraceCity and is part of core leadership, the Finance Committee, and the Worship Arts Team and has also led a small group. "I feel blessed to be a part of GraceCity and could never have imagined all that God had in store when He called me to the city. I am looking forward to the next chapter." Since 1990, she has worked for a long term care pharmacy company where she works on special projects and develops customer service training.
Akilah Atkinson -

Akilah Atkinson

After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at Mount Union College, Akilah completed additional studies at The Ohio State University and Goucher College. She currently serves as a Transition Specialist for special education students at Kennedy Krieger High School, where she enjoys one to one interaction with her students. This allows her to focus on the specific needs of each individual as they transition from high school to college and vocational training. Her lifelong goal is to help people achieve their God given purpose by serving those He puts within her path of influence at their immediate point of need.
Jack Lee -

Jack Lee

With ties to Grace Fellowship since 1985, Jack and his wife Sharon were delighted to learn of GraceCity's formation upon their return to Baltimore in 2008 after a few years in Florida. Jack serves on Core Leadership, the Finance Committee, participates in a Small Group, & is often found running the sound board on Sunday mornings. A gearhead by nature, Jack is CFO for a new car dealership group and lives in Fells Point. He and Sharon just celebrated their 29th anniversary and have two recently married sons and a daughter attending college in Baltimore.
Sharon Lee - Women's Ministry Director

Sharon Lee

Women's Ministry Director

Sharon is passionate about connecting women to God and each other. She works at Johns Hopkins as a Financial Administrative manager. She has been married to Jack for 29 years. They have three grown children and their family continues to grow. Over the past three years they have welcomed two lovely daughters-in-law and one precious grandson. Sharon has been involved in Core Leadership and currently serves as Women's Ministry Director and enjoys singing on the Praise team. She loves in depth Bible studies, cooking, and hosting functions at their really cool apartment in Fells Point.
Charlotte Elder -

Charlotte Elder

Charlotte graduated with a B.A. in Spanish and Psychology, and holds a M.A. in Psychology. She is finishing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is a bilingual Spanish speaker. A native to Baltimore City, Charlotte followed the call to use her psychology and Spanish gifts here, and was blessed to find the ministries of GraceCity. Through GraceCity, she has been active in small groups, Children’s, and the Nicaragua team ministries. She is a Baltimore City foster parent, a part time Spanish teacher, a part time member of the NICU Followup Clinic at the UM Medical Center, and a full-time follower of Christ.
Marianne Waugh -

Marianne Waugh

It wasn’t until Marianne accepted an invitation in 1999 to attend Grace Fellowship Church that at age 43 she made her commitment to follow Christ. In 2008, Marianne and her husband, Gary, followed the call to join others in establishing the Grace City campus. She has volunteered and served in numerous capacities at Grace Fellowship and Grace City, including women's ministry, hospitality, and leadership. She has a strong passion for children and education, and she engages that passion both professionally and in ministry. She holds degrees in restaurant management and home economics.Marianne and Gary have been married since 1980, and they have been blessed with an extraordinary son and daughter in law.
Rick Grindrod - Nicaragua Ministry Coordinator

Rick Grindrod

Nicaragua Ministry Coordinator

Rick is the coordinator for Grace City’s ministry in Managua, Nicaragua in partnership with OrphaNetwork and El Faro Christian Church. Rick has a strategy consulting company helping entrepreneurs build their businesses. Previously, Rick had a 25-year career with Erickson Retirement Communities. He serves on the Boards of St. Agnes Hospital, University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, and Indian Creek School. He has been married to the sunshine of his life for 24 years with whom he shares two children in college and a high school senior.
Kristie McManus - HopeSprings Coordinator

Kristie McManus

HopeSprings Coordinator

Kristie McManus is a Louisianan straight from the heart of Cajun Country. She is an elementary school teacher in Baltimore City and is extremely passionate about teaching children how to read regardless of the resistance she sometimes faces. She firmly believes that education is one of our most powerful tools in lifting people out of poverty. She graduated with a Masters of Education from Loyola Maryland in May of 2012 and is currently attempting to learn conversational Spanish by the end of the 2013 school year. She became involved with HopeSprings merely because she believes that being a loving friend/sister to ONE person can make a difference in MANY. She says, "the residents of Carriage House have taught me how to be honest... with myself and the world around me." We are in this life together. We might as well join hands while we are at it!
Christin Hanigan -

Christin Hanigan

A Maryland native, Christin moved to Baltimore in 2003 for her graduate studies at Johns Hopkins where she received a Ph.D in Cellular and Molecular Medicine in 2008. Since moving here, Christin has fallen in love with this city! When she's not in the lab, you can find her involved in a variety of ministries from leading a small group to working to end domestic minor sex trafficking in Baltimore! She's been part of GraceCity from the beginning and is so excited to be part of the amazing things God is doing in this church. "To quote my pastors, 'I love this church!'"
Nate Scott -

Nate Scott

Nate is a landscape architect who lives in Hampden with his wife Liz and daughters Ava and Harper. He moved to Baltimore in 2007 after graduating from Penn State University and has enjoyed getting to know the City and the people in it. His passion for connecting people to God and one another drives his service as Small Groups Director, which he combines with five years of experience as a small group member and facilitator. Nate considers it a joy and an honor to serve alongside his wife as part of GraceCity.
Liz Scott -

Liz Scott

Liz is a dietician by trade with over five years of experience in Baltimore City, but she currently is enjoying life as a full-time mom with her daughters Ava and Harper. She's lived in Baltimore with her husband Nate since 2007 and has grown in her appreciation for all that Baltimore has to offer. She loves the community that her family has found through GraceCity - namely through her neighborhood small group - and enjoys the meaningful relationships she's developed with others in the church. In addition to overseeing small groups with Nate, she also serves monthly as part of the HopeSprings HIV/AIDS ministry.
Nick Cienski -

Nick Cienski

Nick has climbed all over the world and participated in over a dozen expeditions in the Himalayas and Karakorum mountains, including Mt. Everest, Broad Peak (twice), Cho-Oyu and the savage rock face of Batura I. He is the Senior Creative Director for Mens Design at Under Armour, and founded Mission 14, the World's Toughest Expedition.
Melissa Light -

Melissa Light

Melissa first developed a heart for international missions in 2009 after traveling to Ethiopia, and completing an MBA with a concentration in international business. She serves as GraceCity's international ministries liaison and enjoys going to Nicaragua with the church and ORPHANetwork.
Melissa has lived in Baltimore since graduating from Grove City College in western Pennsylvania. She moved into the city in 2008 and loves her church, small group, friends and city life. Melissa currently works in finance and just loves working with lots of numbers. She is also a newlywed married to the love of her life, Andy.