Our Mission


Building transforming relationships through a network (corps) of churches and individuals committed to a shared journey of spiritual formation and racial justice/reconciliation.

Who We are

Video Testimonials

About Cornelius Corps

Building transforming relationships through a network (Corps) of churches and individuals committed to a shared journey of racial justice/reconciliation and spiritual formation is the focus of a special ministry based in Richmond, VA.Our name is inspired by the Biblical story of Cornelius and Peter in the book of Acts (10:1 – 11:18).  Through visions given by God, these two men were able to transcend boundaries of race, culture, and privilege by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We believe that God is still calling and empowering us to this journey of racial justice/reconciliation and spiritual formation.

The Reverend Dr. Jim Melson, an ordained minister in The United Methodist Church, is the Founder and Executive Director of Cornelius Corps. After serving as a pastor of churches in Virginia for 20 years, Jim founded Cornelius Corps in 2001 as a ministry of New Community Church in Washington, DC. New Community Church is part of a network of churches and ministries in DC called The Church of the Saviour. In 2020, Cornelius Corps became its own non-profit organization based in the Richmond, VA area. Our ministry continues through the financial gifts of individuals and churches that support our mission.

Who We Are

Our Board of Directors

The Rev. Dr. James (Jim) Melson  

The Rev. Dr. James (Jim) Melson is the Executive Director of the Cornelius Corps (www.corneliuscorps.org), a ministry based in Richmond, VA that focuses on spiritual formation and racial justice/reconciliation. Jim is an ordained pastor in The United Methodist Church. He served for 19 years as the pastor of local churches in the Virginia Annual Conference before founding the Cornelius Corps in 2001. The Cornelius Corps was based in Washington, DC until 2020 when Jim moved to Richmond, VA.

Michael Castrilli

Michael began his work with the Cornelius Corps in May 2015. He is the interim Executive Director at the Association of Inspectors General (AIG), an international nonprofit whose vision is to advance integrity and accountability in government through independent oversight.

Rev. Trenda Jacocks

Rev. Trenda Jacocks was ordained to the gospel ministry in 2015 by Parkwood Baptist Church after completing her master’s degree in 2014 at the John Leland Center for Theological studies in Christian Leadership. (MCL). Her former background as a seasoned servant leader, public-school advocate, pre-school administrator, mother and grandmother, military spouse, lay-leader and community organizer led her into her calling as a Pastor and to serve with Cornelius Corps since 2014.

Adrienne Reedy

Adrienne is a recording gospel artist, worship leader, conference/retreat speaker, discipleship leader, mentor, and visual artist who actively lives her life where faith, art and justice intersect.

Rev. Audrey Britt James

The Reverend Audrey Britt James currently serves as Minister of Administration and Church Operations at Saint Paul Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. where she oversees church operations which includes coordination and implementation of the church vision.

Greg Merlo

Greg has more than 25 years of full-time, bi-vocational and volunteer ministry experience. He now serves as the Pastor of Youth and Young Adults at Parkwood Baptist Church in Annandale, Virginia. Greg experienced most of his on-the-job training with youth and families alongside his wife, Molly, as they raised their two children, Addie & Ben, now in college.

Steve Reedy

Steve has a calling to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” (Eph. 4:11-13) and for helping the church move towards greater maturity and unity across social diversity in Christ. Steve is passionate about racial reconciliation, often working together his wife Adrienne. He is also active in multiple ministry threads in diverse church and para-church settings

Meet Michael

Michael Castrilli lives in Philadelphia. From the city of brotherly love, he reflects on what is at the heart of our ministry. Mike is deeply committed to The Cornelius Corps and gives leadership to the financial and communication aspects of the ministry.

Meet Tom

Tom Nealley is a friend and committed supporter of our ministry who has been active with the Cornelius Corps since 2008. He lives near Richmond, VA and continues to support the Cornelius Corps in many ways.

Meet Carlean

Carlean Ponder shares her testimony about what the Cornelius Corps means to her. Carlean is deeply committed to our ministry of racial justice/reconciliation and serves on our Advisory Board. 

Meet Kathy

Kathy Mackrell is a member of one of our partner churches, Crossroads UMC in Ashburn, VA. For over ten years, she has supported our ministry through leading our tutoring team and serving on our Advisory Board.

Get In Touch

For information on any aspect of The Cornelius Corps, please contact me. -Rev. Jim Melson

Call Me

US Mail

Cornelius Corps
Rev. Jim Melson
10002 Locklies Drive
Glen Allen, VA 23060