Ministry Team

Please click on the name to be taken to each Ministry Team member’s full bio.

  • Derek Bravinder

    Ministry Team Coordinator, Trustee

    Derek was born and raised in Cokato, Minnesota. In 2006, he and his wife Tara decided to make Thunder Bay their home and have been active members of Grassroots Church ever since. They are both passionate about fostering healthy church community as one way that God’s healing work is accomplished and expressed in the world. Derek is […]

  • Matthew Denis

    Music Director

    Matt and his wife Heather have been a part of the Grassroots community since 2006. They’re proud (and admittedly exhausted) parents of two beautiful little rascals, Ruby and Lily. Matt is responsible for keeping the wheels turning behind our music ministry. He helps to keep our worship times relevant, passionate, joyful, and focused on giving […]

  • Angela Wiebe

    Children's Ministry Director

    Angela was born and raised in the Fort Frances/Rainy River District. She made her way to the big city in 2000 to attend university, where she received a BA in Visual Arts and a BEd. Angela is passionate, to put it lightly, about art. Walking into Grassroots church, your eyes will be drawn immediately to […]

  • Steven Bill


    Steve Bill is the guy with two first names. He was raised in Thunder Bay but spent a number of years in the Arctic, Alberta, and the Bahamas before returning to Northwestern Ontario in 2009. He holds a BA in Theology from Prairie College and an MA in Professional Communications from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC. Steve’s influenced […]

  • Claudine de Luna

    Church Manager, Youth Director

    Claudine was born in the Philippines and moved to Canada in 1993. She has lived all over Canada – from Winnipeg to Newfoundland to Timmins, Ontario, before settling in Thunder Bay in 2006. Claudine really began to get involved with the ministry of Grassroots in 2010-2011 with the Evoke program. Following that year, she began the […]

  • Christine Brown

    Youth Director

    Christine grew up in Thunder Bay. She loves the outdoors and is an avid paddler and climber. She has a Bachelor of Education from Lakehead University and is currently a swimming instructor and the Program Director at Dorion Bible Camp.  From a very early age, Christine knew she loved working with children and that her calling […]

  • Sandy Taddeo

    Community Connections Coordinator

    Sandy was born and raised in Thunder Bay. In the early 90s he attended The Great Commission Bible School in McMinnville, Oregon, and then began working in Eastern Europe for various NGOs working with orphans. Shortly after returning to Canada, he moved to Alberta in 1999 where he started a family with his new wife, […]

  • Nadia LaRussa

    Financial Director

    Nadia was born and raised in Thunder Bay and has been a member of Grassroots community since 2006. Nadia’s interests and talents are varied – everything from being a doula to accounting consulting, Nadia loves it all. She’s been an entrepreneur since 1997 and holds an MBA in Executive Management from Royal Roads University.  Married to her best friend, […]

  • Lisa Edwards

    Hospitality Coordinator

    Lisa has been a part of Grassroots Church for over 10 years, serving in various capacities over the years. Before this, she worked in an Anglican church in England for 2 years as a children’s program coordinator. She loves serving coffee and working with children (they crack her up). Lisa runs because it is good for her and sometimes, […]

  • Carolyn Whatley

    Women's Ministry

    Carolyn was raised in Thunder Bay and left home to attend the University of Waterloo.  Through the Navigators campus ministry, she was introduced to the story of God and was discipled through that ministry throughout her university years.  This exciting time was filled with discipleship training schools, leadership development, overseas travel, small groups and individual […]

  • Gabriel McKay

    Men's Ministry

    Originally from Minnesota, Gabriel came to Thunder Bay in the fall of 2003 to do an internship with the Great Commission school. During that time he met his wife, Jennifer, who also attended Grassroots Church, and they were married in 2006. As they settled into married life they felt the Lord leading them to raise […]

  • Brent Kukkee

    Facility Manager

    Brent is a hardworking father of 5, and is married to Grassroots’ Director of Finance, Nadia La Russa. He grew up on the outskirts of Thunder Bay (near Oliver Lake) and has lived in and around the city all of his life, except for 5 years spent in the Cayman Islands. Brent is a CPA […]

  • Ryan Whatley

    Special Projects Manager

    Ryan was born and raised in Thunder Bay. He married Carolyn, a Thunder Bay girl herself, and together have 5 kids in addition to fostering children. Ryan’s been a part of Grassroots church since the early days, involved with the Great Commission School and supporting the growth of the Grassroots community. Ryan loves to tease, […]

  • Tara Bravinder

    Office Administrator

    Tara grew up on a farm in Swan River, Manitoba. She moved to Thunder Bay with her husband Derek to finish her teaching degree. What was supposed to be only 8 months of schooling turned into 9+ years! Thunder Bay has a way of doing that with people and once they were involved with the […]