Our Pastor and Leading Lady


Dr. Melvin O. Marriner,
Senior Pastor & Community Change Agent

With a true heart for God and God’s people, Dr. Melvin O. Marriner is one of today’s most provocative and transparent ministers. As the longest serving Senior Pastor of Grove Baptist Church(1840), Dr. Marriner’s overarching mission for the Church and its members is to GLORIFY God, edify the people who are Christ-centered and to evangelize the lost. Dr. Marriner believes that God is looking for individuals to have God’s Spirit, God’s motive, God’s intent, and God’s heart.
A native resident of Chesapeake, Virginia, Dr. Marriner is married to Captain Shelley Kay-Marriner, USN, and is the proud father of four sons – Courtland, Isaiah, Joshua, and Brandon and a happy "grandfather" of six.

Dr. Marriner believes that education unlocks the door to many opportunities, and he leads by example. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Norfolk State University, Dr. Marriner continued his education—earning a Master’s of Divinity degree from Virginia Union University School of Theology and a Doctorate of Ministry from United Theological Seminary.
In addition to serving as Senior Pastor of Grove, Dr. Marriner is dedicated to serving the community. He has served as President of Dr. Martin Luther King Leadership Steering Committee, and is a member of Portsmouth Notable, Portsmouth Rotary, Rotary International, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He served on the boards of Portsmouth Partnership and Portsmouth Community Foundation, and is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Visions of Truth Community Development Corporation. He is also the Chaplain for the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Department.
Dr. Marriner currently serves on the Alzheimer’s advisory board and previously served on the Sickle Cell Anemia Board, was a mentor with Chesapeake Public Schools, served as the first Vice President of the Norfolk Union Association/Baptist General Convention and as a board member of the American Red Cross Association. He has lectured many times at Eastern Virginia Medical School on the importance of integrating Theology and Psychology.
Dr. Marriner is leading the elders council and the members of Grove Church in addressing and enhancing the housing shortage by building 200 new  apartments and approximately 78 new single family homes, off of West Norfolk Road, in Portsmouth, Virginia. His main mantra is "You Can’t Rise to Low Expectations."


Richelle “Shelley” Kay-Marriner,
Leading Lady of Grove Church VA

Captain Richelle Kay-Marriner (USN, Ret.)—is the wife of Dr. Melvin O. Marriner, Senior Pastor of Grove Church and founder of Visions of Truth Ministries (VOTM) in Portsmouth, Virginia. She is an executive leader in global healthcare and an accomplished career professional, having served dutifully in the U.S. Navy for 30 years.

Known affectionately as “Shelley,” she has embraced her husband’s vision of servant leadership—and complements it with a true and passionate heart for women. She believes that every woman is called to minister, and it is this belief and passion that led her to elevate Grove’s Women’s Ministry to a movement. In 2018, We Are Our Sisters’ Keepers (WAOSK) was successfully launched with the overarching goal of empowering women.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Shelley earned her undergraduate degree in Nursing from Niagara University and master’s degree in Nursing from the University of North Carolina with a concentration in Public/Community Health. During her distinguished naval career, she has held numerous executive leadership positions including Officer in Charge for Naval Health Clinics Mid-South, Millington, Tennessee; Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia; Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth Virginia; Weapons Station, Yorktown, Virginia; Director for Healthcare Business, Okinawa, Japan; and Director for Population Health, Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, which provided Epidemiological Services, Clinical Health Analysis and Health Promotion for more than 800,000 Navy and Marine Corps service members and their families.

Active in her community, Shelley is a graduate of the Sam Chand Leadership Institute 2020, LEAD—Hampton Roads (2018), and the CIVIC Leadership Institute (2021). In addition, she served on the Executive Board of the YWCA-SHR (2017 -2022) and is a member of the Portsmouth Alumnae Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Her professional affiliations include membership in the American College of Healthcare Executives, National Naval Officers Association, and Military Officers Association of America. She has received numerous accolades, awards, and citations for her service to the United States Navy and her community.


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