Dean Ward
Lead Pastor/ New Kensington Campus Pastor
Phone: 724-337-4837

What do I want people to say about me? “He loves God and loves people and is fulfilling his mission in life to help people on their journey back to God!”
Leslie and I started The River—A Community Church in 2004 with the dream of beginning a church for people who’ve given up on church, and a church that serves others and makes a difference in our community!
Leslie and I were married in April 1992! We lived where I grew up in Greensburg, PA for our first 5 years of our marriage, moved to Tupelo, Mississippi in 1997 for 5 years when I became a pastor. When we moved back home with our four children, we wanted to raise our family in New Kensington where Leslie grew up and we sensed God leading us to start a new church in our community!
I thank God for the opportunity to raise our family in New Kensington and am grateful for the opportunity to lead and serve God and others through The River!

Mark Helsel
Campus Pastor at New Heights
Phone: 813-335-6718 (Text me or call)
Mark has 25 years of full-time ministry experience serving churches in Ohio, PA and Florida. He is a Beaver County native by birth and a graduate of Geneva college with degrees in Youth Ministry and Broadcast Communications. He is also a graduate of Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, CA with a degree in Leadership. He loves playing back yard football, reading, soccer, movies, comics and hanging with his three kids Parker, Jaynie and Jacob. He’s had articles published in various publications and was a national speaker for Youth Specialties. Mark has preached in churches, camps and retreat centers all across the USA and internationally. Mark is also part of Post Christian Pastors, a podcast recorded by a group of Pastors seeking to live, think and act as Jesus would have us in a very complex POST CHRISTIAN culture. You can follow Post Christian Pastors here.
Brian Baker
Youth Pastor
phone: 724.594.7394
It’s hard to call what I do work because I love every second of it! Spending time with students and teaching them about Jesus is not just a passion of mine, it’s also a calling. I have been volunteering with students for many years, but now I am a part-time Youth Pastor.
I am married to the most beautiful woman in the world, Corinne, who loves me more than I deserve. I also have two great kids, Noah and Jadyn who keep me very humble. Basically I am just a fun- loving bald guy originally from Lower Burrell now living in New Kensington.
As the part-time Youth Pastor, I also spend my days working full time as a Mechanical Designer. I am a 1994 Burrell graduate and a 1999 Penn State University graduate. I enjoy designing mechanical systems, but my heart’s desire is helping students on their journey back to God. I love that God has called me into student ministry and that I get to serve along side my wife. The River’s Edge is constantly striving to be an amazing place for your students, and I can’t wait to meet them, spend some time loving on them, and helping them learn about and develop a personal relationship with Jesus.
Nicky Magnelli
Ministry Coordinator & Secretary for New Kensington and New Heights Campuses
Phone: 724-337-4837
I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to serve our church family and make a difference.  Being responsible for the office administration and online media has let me interact with so many of the people who call The River their home church, and I am thankful God has allowed me to serve alongside all of them.  The River has been my home for almost ten years, and I am honored to be a part of it.  In addition to running the office at both campuses, I lead the Kids’ Closet ministry with Lyndsey Stirland at The River New Ken.  Kids’ Closet is a community outreach that provides a clothing exchange for the families in our neighborhoods.  When I am not at The River, I am spending time with my family and friends, playing with my dachshund Abby, or working on one of my favorite crafts.  I love to crochet, sew and illustrate my faith through Bible journaling. 
Lynette Houser
Volunteer Pastor of Hospital Visitation
Lynette lives in New Kensington, PA and has lived here all her life. It is her pleasure to serve the Lord and help others to get to know the love of the Lord.  God is good and she likes to tell of his love, joy and mercy over and over again. 
She goes to visit the sick in the hospitals for our church and prays for the sick and people that are in stressful situations. 
She have three brothers and three sisters that all live in the United States. 
She looks forward to talking and interacting with you as we serve together.  May God bless and keep you and your family