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.

  • 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 (UML) in 2016. Santi learned about and responded to the gospel in 2014 when he began attending Christian Student Fellowship (CSF) at UML.  Afterwards, the direction of his life changed dramatically as he sought to sincerely follow Jesus and share the hope of Jesus with his peers. Since then, he has committed himself to reciprocating the investment he received at CSF through mentoring college students and through preaching. Santi works as a full-time software engineer and his wife Alicia works as a Biology teacher. Together they enjoy playing music, baking, and showing hospitality to students and locals in the area.

  • Emilio Beato

    Lay Elder

    Emilio Beato connected with Mill City Church and has been in the Lowell area since 2013 when he began his undergraduate at UMass Lowell. He is passionate about advancing the mission of God through discipleship and evangelism. Emilio is currently enrolled at South Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary pursuing an M.Div. in Christian Ministry. He is also serving as a Pastoral Intern at MCC and is being equipped for his future as a full-time minister. Emilio enjoys playing sports, and playing music. He and his wife, Devon, enjoy being outdoors, eating good food, and spending time with friends. Contact Emilio at emilio.a.beato@gmail.com

  • 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.

  • Devon Beato

    First Impressions

    Devon connected with Mill City Church after joining Christian Student Fellowship at UMASS Lowell in 2015. She has been involved with MCC since, and is passionate about providing a welcoming space for all who walk through the doors. Devon is a New Hampshire native but now lives in Lowell with her husband, Emilio, and works as a pediatric nurse. She enjoys podcasts, coffee, indoor rock climbing, and true crime books. Contact Devon at DevonBeato@gmail.com.

  • Lissy Sandoval


    Lissy and her family connected with Mill City Church in 2013. In 2019, she began serving with Christian Student Fellowship, and Mill City Church. She is passionate about sharing the gospel with students and women in the community. Her family loves to use their home as a place where people can be loved and ministered to. Lissy is a Lowell native. She is married to Oscar and together they have two daughters Bella and AnnaBelle. She enjoys reading a good book with a delicious cup of coffee, hiking and watching true crime documentaries. Contact Lissy at lissy@millcitychurch.net.

  • Robbie Merkosky

    Media Director / Ministry Staff

    Robbie has served Mill City Church and Christian Student Fellowship since 2012 through discipleship, leading community groups and other Bible studies, teaching, and media production. Robbie and his wife Carla have been married since May of 2020. 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.