Dean Dean Ward
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
Franklin Park Campus Pastor
Phone: 813-335-6718
Mark has 29 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 wife Megan and their family. 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.
Brian Baker
Associate Pastor & Youth Pastor – New Kensington
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 the Associate Pastor and 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.
In addition to my ministry duties, 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
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 15 years, and I am honored to be a part of it.  
In addition to running the office, 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. I’m also the local coordinator for Week of Hope, a summer youth camp that lodges at The River for seven weeks every year and serves in our community.
My husband, Antonio, and I welcomed our first baby, Angelina Meghan, to the world in January 2019. She lights up our lives. Angelina spends her days in the church office with me, and I love that she gets to literally grow up inside of the church, surrounded by the church family that loves her and will teach her to love Jesus and her community.
Jesse Davis
Worship Leader – New Kensington
Phone: 724-337-4837
Jesse has been leading The River’s worship band since 2016 and has added his own unique talent to the role. He focuses on worshiping our Lord and creating a space where people can spend time in God’s presence is noticeable each week. One of his favorite highlights from his first year was during the Easter service when the band played “Resurrecting” for the first time. 
The River’s band, often self-titled as The Island of Misfit Toys, includes Dan Kuehn, Jim Leslie, Matt Klevemann, Jim Burger, Marlena Freynik, Rachel McCormick, Corinne Baker, Leanne Leslie and Nicky Magnelli. 
Ryan Slye
Worship Leader – Franklin Park
Ryan leads the worship team at Franklin Park. 
Zoee Menhart
Children’s Ministry Director – New Kensington
Tiffany Peterson
Children’s Ministry Director – Franklin Park
Tiffany leads the children’s ministry at Franklin Park