Melissa Florer-Bixler was called to be pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church in 2016.
Melissa is a “convinced” Mennonite. As an adult she found herself drawn to Anabaptism’s emphasis on consensus decision-making, the priesthood of all believers, peace building, and potlucks. She is a sucker for four-part harmony.
Her formal education occurred at Gordon College, Duke University, and Princeton Theological Seminary. She was nurtured into pastoral ministry over the past decade by the spacious welcome of Portland Mennonite, Oxford Circle Mennonite, and Chapel Hill Mennonite. She was the recipient of the gentleness and shared life of L’Arche Portland (OR) and works to extend that beloved community as a board member of Friends of L’Arche North Carolina.
With her time she defends her snap peas from insects, attends to the words of Elena Ferrante, Karl Barth, and Li-Young Lee, and cultivates the will to learn Spanish by listening to Ana Tijoux. Sometimes she writes things that other people read in The Mennonite and Christian Century. She expends the most time, energy, tears, laughter, fear and patience co-parenting her three children with her spouse, Jacob.
Rachel Taylor was called to serve as Intergenerational Pastor in 2018. A Raleigh native, she first discovered the Mennonite church as a teenager while poring over the Mennonite cookbooks as she volunteered at Ten Thousand Villages. She was attracted to the idea that everyday life could be an act of faith–even how we eat.
A double Tar Heel and a graduate of Duke Divinity School, Rachel currently serves as the Children’s Services Coordinator at Families Moving Forward, an emergency shelter for families with children in Durham, NC. She also serves on the board of Anathoth Community Garden. Rachel’s life and faith has been shaped by time spent in Harlem, NYC and Appalachia as well as her years settling into Walltown, the neighborhood she has called home since 2011. She has been a member of Raleigh Mennonite since 2015. She loves reading, cooking, textile arts, poking around her garden, and connecting with friends and family near and far.